Guest Post by: Art Decker
I know I'm not the only person out there who is under a lot of stress. I talk to people every day who are under severe levels of stress. In addition to the recession, many people have their own temporary (they hope) but severe stresses, such as relocating, changing jobs, getting married or divorced, surviving the death of a loved one or the death of a relationship, or coping with medical challenges. And then there are the everyday stresses--the little things that finally end up really getting to us--parenting, budgeting crises, work pressures, an unyielding travel schedule.
Nobody likes to admit that this kind of stress is getting to them. Least of all me! When people who know how crazy my schedule is ask how I am doing, my most common responses are "fine, thanks!," and "hanging in there!" I never reply, "To tell you the truth, I am having a hard time. I can't eat, I can't sleep, I can't concentrate!" Ah, denial. It's more than just a river in Egypt...
Stress Can do Whatever it Wants to Your Body
But my denial could only last for so long before my body decided to tattle on me. I kept having these episodes when my heart would pound and I felt like I couldn't breathe. I didn't think it was a heart attack -- I have low blood pressure, low cholesterol, all those things that are supposed to be low...but I went to see my doctor and asked if what I was experiencing was stress. Her answer was, "Absolutely. Stress can do anything; it can do whatever the hell it wants!" Stress can make it hard for you to sleep (check!) or hard to wake up (double check!). It can make your skin break out in hives (check!). It can completely overthrow the smooth functioning of your digestive system (check). It can even play a role in chronic diseases, especially autoimmune diseases (let's hope mine hasn't gone that far).