It only gets worse …

Sorry to be such a Debbie Downer week one of my blog but … the best ammunition against the enemy is information.  Get a handle on your stress before it really sinks its fangs into you.  You’ve seen Twilight or True Blood. It can be a bloody mess.

In the long run, stress has been shown to …

1. Increase your risk of infection – stress can suppress your immune system making you more susceptible to everything from the common cold and the flu to intestinal illness and skin infections. Do you find yourself saying often, “I just keep getting sick”? You are probably blaming the germs from people (especially little people) that surround you.  Actually, you should point the finger at the stress all “your peeps” (again, especially the little ones) are putting on you.  If you aren’t a parent or a teacher … same story.  Big people can be annoying too.

2. Cardiovascular disease – increased heart rate and increased blood pressure equals increased risk of heart attack and stroke.  You know who and/or what gets your heart racing.

3. Decreased sex drive – speaking of your heart racing … Stress has been shown to decrease you libido and this is bad on at least two levels.  1 – obviously you are having less sex.  2 – there is some decent evidence that the more sex you have, the longer you live.

4. Depression – extended periods of unattended-to repressed stress can significantly increase your risk of becoming clinically depressed.  It, of course, stands to reason that if you have more stressors, you will be less happy.  But, we are talking here about real, cannot snap out of it, need professional help sadness.

5. Increased risk of cancer? – I add the question mark because the jury is still out on this one.  There are some experts who believe that stress decreases your body’s ability to self-regulate, i.e. control wayward cells before they become cancerous.   Most studies have been done with breast cancer patients and the clinical evidence is not great.  There is, however, better agreement among experts that stress decreases the body’s ability to fight cancer once it has taken hold.

So, bottom line – stress BAD.  You already know this but perhaps being reminded of just how formidable and dangerous stress can be, will help you help yourself and do theunthinkable … RELAX – it is good for your health.

The mark of a successful man is one that

has spent an entire day on the bank of a river

without feeling guilty about it.  – Unknown

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