Stress Q & A

  • What’s a better stress antidote, a yoga class or short stretch breaks?

    Short stretch breaks are instrumental in helping prevent stress from building up in the first place. plus, they’re much easier to work into your schedule, so you’re more likely to squeeze them in.

  • Why does my skin seem to take forever to heal when I’m stressed?

    When you’re stressed, a hormone called cortisol prevents cytokines, chemicals that bring white blood cells to a wound to help it heal, from doing their job.

  • When I’m stressed, all I want to do is pig out! Why?

    Thank cortisol, again. When you’re under pressure, cravings for high-fat and high-calorie foods are triggered by this stress-related hormone. It tells your body to store the extra fat in your abdomen so it will be ready as a reserve in case of emergency. Stress may be alleviated in the short term by that plate of fries, but a little exercise may make you feel better in the long run.

  • Why do I feel like I have to go to the bathroom really badly when I’m stressed?

    When you’re overwhelmed, the production of norepinephrine, a chemical that stimulates nerves in your bladder, skyrockets. And the more intense your stress is, the stronger the urge to urinate becomes.

  • I’ve never suffered from allergies before. But recently when I was under a lot of pressure at work, I started sneezing and coughing every time I was near my cat. What’s going on?

    When you’re stressed, your immune system is depleted. In some people, this results in higher levels of wheeze-inducing histamines flooding into your blood. The result? You’re far more susceptible to allergens that may never have bothered you before.

  • What are the top 10 stressors?

    The loss of a loved one; major illness or injury; divorce or separation; serious financial difficulties; losing your job; getting married; moving to a new place; a serious falling out with a close friend; the birth of a child; retirement.

  • Can stress make me sick?

    Researchers estimate that 75-90% of all visits to primary care physicians are for conditions that are somehow stress related. Every week, 112 million people take some form of medication for stress-related symptoms.

  • Why do I get neck pain when I’m stressed?

    Your muscles are a prime target for stress. When you’re under pressure, your muscles contract and become tense, affecting nerves, blood vessel(s), organs, skin and bones. If this tension is chronic, you may begin to suffer from muscle spasms, cramping, facial or jaw pain and tremors.

  • Why do I feel so incredibly tired when I’m stressed, even if I’ve gotten a full night’s sleep?

    Stress seems to block the body’s ability to settle into deep, restorative sleep. When you’re stressed, there are heart rate variations during the REM phase of sleep, when dreaming occurs, that are similar to those of chronic insomniacs.

Curious about how your stress measures up? Check out the results of the American psychological Association’s “Stress in America” 2008 survey.

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