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Dealing with Stress

Stress indicates a great need to learn to live a balanced, favourable life, or lack of good opportunities for it. Also, stress needs to be resolved before its accumulated effects make ill or kill.

Stress is a modern plague, but there are ways out. If you have stress symptoms, taking steps to deal with with your stress and get aware of all the main causes in general can have numerous health benefits. Some steps are:

  • Regular physical activity
  • Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga
  • Keeping a sense of humor
  • Socialising with friends
  • Setting aside time for hobbies, such as reading books or listening to mellow music
  • Getting plenty of sleep and a healthy, balanced diet.

(Source: The Mayo Clinic in the USA)

Drs. Thomas H. Holmes and Richard H. Rahe at Washington Medical School devised a scheme of stressors and first tried it on 2500 sailors, and then others. It is much used. [Top of the scale] For more, see Wikipedia (s.v. "Holmes and Rahe stress scale").

The simple test is online and free. Note that grievous money worries and moral conflicts are absent from it, but maybe they should be included. [◦Life Events Stress Test]

Managing stress may work well up to a point or level too: [◦The Mayo Clinic: Stress management, stress symptoms]

How stress affects us: [◦Stress, symptoms, causes, and effects]

New research findings

In a study at the University of Iceland in Reykjavik it was found that people who experience considerable stress may be much more likely to develop an autoimmune disorder, like rheumatoid arthritis. The findings were based on medical records of men and women living in Sweden between 1981 and 2013. They were 106,464 adults who had sought treatment for a stress-related psychiatric problem. It the control groups (to compare with) were 126,652 of their siblings and more than one million unrelated individuals without any known stress-induced disorder.

Among those with stress-related issues, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) sufferers faced an increased chance of developing more than one autoimmune disorder, including celiac disease, Crohn's disease, psoriasis, and rheumatoid arthritis. And some types of autoimmune diseases were more closely correlated to high stress levels in the subjects than others. For example, the risk for celiac disease was greater than that of rheumatoid arthritis.

Stress may takes a damaging toll over time. Prolonged stress raises the body's cortisol levels, which may contribute to such as weight gain, elevated blood pressure, memory difficulties, and impaired immune function. Cortisol also helps regulate inflammation throughout the body. Cortison disturbances my explain a developing arthritis.

Chronic stress often causes unhealthy conduct too. Major life stressors, like worrying about a potential job loss, makes some people lose sleep etc., and seldom helps anybody.

There are natural methods of stress reduction that are effective. Eating blueberries, using a supplement that contains such as ashwagandha, meditating daily and well enough, getting regular physical activity, relaxing well to music - may be ways to lessen or get rid of accummulated stress.

(A Source: Beth Levine. The Toll of Stress on Your Immune System. Baseline of Health Foundation, 28 June 2018)

Looking Deeper

In Dr. Gordon Allport's view, a truly religious attitude contains a sense of belonging in a world that makes deep sense. "The religious sentiment . . . has attachments to the most elusive facets of becoming. . . To feel oneself meaningfully linked to the whole of Being". (Allport 1955:93-94)

When trying to resolve religious assertions and their conflicts, we may try to (1) change our society (in-group), or, if that doesn't work, (2) we abide by the present status quo and feign against some of our deep-set urges. Blocking their outlets by some sorts of defence mechanisms could at length turn us into neurotics, and cynical as such too. Better not renounce heartfelt norms and ideals (idealism) for conformist gains. But heartfelt and conform may be combined.

Realising oneself on the one hand and conformity on the other hand mars. Such heartfelt stress is not included in Holmes and Rahes list of main stressors either, but may still be a horrible thing to experience. Conflict stress can become intense, dangerous and ruin many lives. (Cf. Bai, 1981:105)

Adding to it: the more faith and intense belongingness we invested in a group and its ideas, the more we risk getting hurt as the first attractions wear thin or wear off.

To work very well and to have a good time are two good marks of being well adapted, whether in the mainstream society or not.

Yet some individuals are naturally more able to withstand stress (are more stress-resistant) than average, and the points about are average stipulations only. Besides, learning about stress and how to cope with it, can increase the odds of maintaining health and of survival too.

More on Holmes and Rahes Stress Events

Death of spouse is stipulated to be the worst thing that could happen (stress-wise). It is given 100 points. Wedding is given 50 points as the middle of the scale, in comparison. It appears that about 10 of the 14 worst stressors (stress agents, stress causes) link up with having a family. There are different sorts of families. Not all are good or healthy.

Illness Predictions Too

The stress scale of Holmes and Rahe is used to predict the odds of getting ill or even die - in this way:

Add the stressors you have experienced during the last 12 months:

  1. With a total score of less than 150, there is "merely" 37% chance of getting ill (from that past stress) in the next 2 years.
  2. With a total score between 150 and 300 points, the chance of getting ill is 51% in the coming two years.
  3. With a total score above 300 you may have 80% change of getting ill in the next two years.

All these figures should be considered to be rough estimates only, for real life is not as clear-cut as that. (Cf, Bai, 1981:106-7, and Atkinson, Richard et al., 1987:468.) Transcendental Meditation offers good help against stress. TM reduced the stress hormone cortisol by 30 percent in a study published in Hormones and Behavior (Vol. 10, Issue 1, February 1978, Pages 5460). More important still: The proof of the pudding - ◦TM, stress and anxiety]


Stress, resolving it, Transcendental Meditation, Literature  

Allport, Gordon: Becoming: Basic Considerations for a Psychology of Personality. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1955.

Bai, Kurt: Livet og Pengene (Life and Money). Vol. 5. Oslo: Økonomiforlaget, 1981.

Shrand, Joseph A., with Leigh M. Devine. Manage Your Stress: Overcoming Stress in the Modern World. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2012.

Symbols, brackets, signs and text icons explained: (1) Text markers(2) Digesting.

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