Stress and Health
It has been estimated that 75 to 90 percent of all visits to the family physician are due to stress related problems. In Canada and the U.S.A., many surveys and studies indicate that people of all ages have seen dramatic rises in stress during the last several decades. The body’s responses to stress are useful in the short run, mobilizing the individual for action. However, contemporary stresses are typically chronic, leading to a series of events in the body which compromise health and often lead to diseases of the body as well as psychological disorders. A great number of these effects are caused by increased Sympathetic Nervous System activity (fight-or-flight response), as well as various stress-related hormones.
Stress in modern life has been found to significantly contribute to:
- Anxiety and Depression
- Hypertension, strokes, heart attacks
- Weight control problems and obesity
- Brain functioning problems with associated cognitive deficits
- Immune system malfunctioning, e.g., autoimmune diseases
- Onset and worsening of disease processes
- Relapse of a disease in recovered individuals
- Speeding up and intensification of aging related symptoms
What is the solution to this Chronic Stress and its host of symptoms and diseases, which are now of epidemic proportions? Self regulation strategies, such as Biofeedback and Neurofeedback assist the individual in learning to control the effects of stress in the early stages of the unfolding of symptoms. As the person learns to recognize and modify the Stress Reaction, the cascade of physiological events ending in a full blown stress response are stopped, or at least decreased and softened. With training over time, the person builds new healthy ways of responding the life stresses, resulting in both better health and feelings of well being, but also gains a sense of personal empowerment by no longer being at the mercy of challenging events and situations.