Stress: the Good, the Bad & the Ugly
Stress is a necessary part of life but too much of it leads to disease.
Acutely stressful situations can increase our productivity, keep us alert, adjust to new situations and get the job done. Chronic stress contributes to chronic illness. Stress left unchecked disrupts sleep, leads to lower energy levels, labile moods, and decreased libido. Naturally, most of us are looking for a quick fix, a magic pill or machine to help us cope. We turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as alcohol, cigarettes, internet, pornography, junk food and drugs.
Let’s talk about the ways to manage stress properly…
Managing stress with exercise, nature walks, better nutrition, restorative sleep and purpose takes a lot of work. It’s actually “work every day” and self discipline to do better, be better, cope better and refrain from self soothing with harmful substance or develop addictive behaviours. Regular physical activity, better nutrition, restorative sleep, social connection, hobbies such as reading and music, and practicing relaxation can help.
In Cosmetic medicine, we find that stress levels are associated with much worse acne, particularly in boys. More about these findings can be read in this report “The Response of Skin Disease to Stress Changes in the Severity of Acne Vulgaris as Affected by Examination Stress. Arch Dermal.2003; 139(7):897-900”.
Stress is also linked to hypertension, obesity, poor immune response, poor blood sugar control, depression, anxiety, headaches, insomnia, digestive problems, and change in sex drive. Post traumatic stress disorder can actually develop when stress becomes chronic. According the the American Psychological Association the most common stressors are employment and money.
Doctors do not usually prescribe medications for coping with stress unless there is an underlying illness such as depression or an anxiety disorder. These may help in the short term but it is really complete Lifestyle Modification that needs to happen in the long term.
In my personal case, I left a profession that was no longer working for me and started my own medical consulting business where I practice Cosmetic Medicine and share my knowledge of Lifestyle Medicine to improve lives. Sometimes just a small change in your day can help with stress management.
We offer private counselling services to help our clients cope with stress so don’t hesitate to reach out to us for help with your stress.