Did you know there is actually an American Institute of Stress? In 2012, they presented some statistics: “44 percent of Americans feel more stressed than five years ago. One in five Americans experience “Extreme Stress,” which includes shaking, heart palpations and depression. Work stress causes 10 percent of strokes and is the basic cause of 60 percent of all human illness and disease. Three out of four doctor visits are for stress-related ailments. Stress increases the risk of: heart disease 40 percent, heart attack 25 percent and stroke 50 percent. Forty percent of stressed people overeat or eat unhealthy food and 44 percent lose sleep every night. Stress shrinks the brain. Stress costs the U.S. $300 billion a year in medical bills and lost productivity.”
America’s State of Mind Report by Medco Health Solutions, Inc. states, “Overall, the number of Americans on medications used to treat psychological and behavioral disorders has substantially increased since 2001; more than one‐in‐five adults was on at least one of these medications in 2010, up 22 percent from 10 years earlier.” A large portion of these prescription drugs with all the likely side effects and potential for addiction are for stress, anxiety and depression.
I can only imagine that the situation has gotten worse in the last few years. I would estimate that stress and anxiety are components of 90 percent of the issues that my clients would like help with. There are so many articles on the negative effects of stress that going through those articles is stressful.
There is hope! There are so many ways to deal with stress and anxiety that do not involve medications. Sometimes it’s just a matter of changing your perception. There is some research that indicates that of people who report that they are stressed, but don’t believe that it causes health problems are no more likely to experience physical effects than people who do not report being in stress.
The mind effects the body and the body effects the mind. Any type of movement, exercise and body work can lessen the effects of stress. Any form of mental distraction such as a change of focus, meditation, gratitude, art, music and prayer can also be helpful in controlling stress and anxiety. Hypnotherapy and related techniques are often effective in using the power of the mind to overcome stress and anxiety.
By Don Berlyn