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5 Sites for Understanding and Managing Stress

February 03, 2009
by Jen O'Neill
Major life events, long-term worries and daily hassles lead all of us to experience stress. FindingDulcinea suggests five sites that offer help to pull yourself out of a harmful stress rut and regain control of your own well-being.

The Causes of Stress

Stress is the body’s way of helping you respond to danger; when it’s working correctly, it helps you stay focused, energetic, and alert. However, at a certain point, stress stops being useful and starts causing major damage to your health, your mood, your productivity, your relationships, and your quality of life. The Cleveland Institute offers an overview of stress, including causes, symptoms, risks and treatment, including an explanation of the three phases of stress and how to cope with them.

The Impact of Stress

The two hormones released when reacting to stress, adrenaline and cortisol, have powerful short- and long-term effects on various systems of the body, which can lead to health problems, such as heart disease and depression, damage to your immune system or memory, and weight problems. The APA Health Center offers an interactive map that explains the impact of stress on different areas of the body, and provides the appropriate information for both genders.

Effectively Managing Stress

Every person responds to stress differently and the effects of stress are different for everyone. The Mayo Clinic offers common coping patterns, such as smoking or eating that might actually add stress or additional health problems to one’s life. Once you recognize the patterns, you can reject them in favor of more positive coping methods, such as exercising, laughing, or taking a few moments of alone time every day.

A San Francisco Chronicle article offers tips about simple ways we can deal with stress on a daily basis. Much of the stress that we experience is often caused by too-high expectations of what we and others can accomplish with a given period of time. ”Listen to your body,” suggests a Stanford psychiatry professor. “It’s smarter than you are, and it’s telling you you’re taking on too much.”

Oprah Winfrey’s site provides tips from Debbie Mandel, author of “Addicted to Stress,” on how to turn stress into strength. According to Greene, women are particularly likely to become addicted to stress because they don’t pay attention to their own needs. Learning to become a “healthy narcissist,” building a better body and nurturing a sense of fun and humor are some of the suggested ways to transform the energy generated by stress into something positive that allows you to reclaim your true self.

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