Pink Prescriptions

Address Your Stress

According to Martha Bridges, RN and Clinical Coordinator of the Hilton Head Hospital cardiac rehabilitation program, "Stress is what you feel when you have to handle more than you are used to. When you are stressed, your body responds as though you are in danger. It makes hormones that speed up your heart, make you breathe faster, and give you a burst of energy. This is called the fight-or-flight stress response. Some stress is normal, and even useful. Stress can help if you need to work hard or react quickly. For example, it can help you win a race or finish an important job on time. But if stress happens too often or lasts too long, it can have bad effects. It can be linked to various physical and psychological symptoms. It can weaken your immune system, making it harder to fight off disease. If you already have a health problem, stress may make it worse. It can make you moody, tense, or depressed. Your relationships may suffer, and you may not do well at work or school."

It's time to consider what you can do to avoid or minimize stress in your life and what you can do to cope with current stress. Ready...Read on!

Is Eye Twitching caused by stress? Eye twitching can be one sign of stress, especially when it is related to vision problems. Reducing the cause of the stress can help make the twitching stop. In addition, tiredness and lack of sleep can trigger eyelid spasms. Catching up on your sleep will not only help stop the eye twitches, but also reduce stress. See your eye doctor if twitching affects half your face or your entire eye. 
- Kenneth D. Farr, M.D., Ophthalmologists, Palmetto Eye Specialists, PA.

Does stress affect my libido? Yes, stress can absolutely decrease your libido! One of the first things you should consider is stress management and stress elimination. You can start by compiling a list of stressors in your life and putting a plan in place to eliminate or manage the stressors better. There are many stress relievers such as breathing techniques and meditation that can be very helpful. There are many self-help/stress relieving books. If you are still not quite sure where to start, a psychologist or psychiatrist can help to put a plan in place for you. Once your stress is managed, your libido will be back on track in no time!
- Kristi Blessitt, MD, Bon Sain Complete Women's Healthcare OB/GYN

Yet another benefit of exercise. reducing stress! Virtually any form of exercise, from aerobics to yoga, can act as a stress reliever. Whatever you do, don't think of exercise as just one more thing on your to-do list. Find an activity you enjoy-whether it's an active tennis match or a walk on the beach-and make it part of your regular routine. Any form of physical activity can help you unwind and become an important part of your approach to easing stress. Always consult with your doctor prior to starting any exercise routine.
- Mark Lawton, MD, Interventional Cardiologist, Hilton Head Hospital.

I've started grinding my teeth at night. Is this stress induced? Teeth grinding, known as bruxism, usually occurs during sleep. Although experts do not agree on the exact cause, bruxism is known to be associated with bite problems, stress and anxiety, sinus and ear infections, eruption of teeth in children, acid reflux (GERD), alcohol/caffeine/nicotine consumption before bed and more.
-  Dr. Timothy Gross, DDS,

I'm reaching for comfort food way too often. Weight gain and food issues are often a direct result of unmanaged or mismanaged stress. We all have different reactions to stress and the power and ability to control our reactions. When you find yourself reaching for comfort food way too often, getting professional help is an excellent option. 
- Martha Scholz, Manager, Metabolic Research Center, Bluffton/HHI

Every time I get stressed my face breaks out.Really? According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), there have been studies indicating that acne may be triggered in women by stress. There can be a higher level of acne in fast-paced career women due to increased stress levels. The body produces more hormones as a response to stress, stimulating hair follicles and oil glands in the skin. If these androgens are over stimulated, an acne flare can occur. Women should buy products for their skin that are non-comedogenic or non-acnegenic that will be less likely to cause acne-this includes makeup, moisturizers, and sunscreen.
- Sue James, RN, Hilton Head Dermatology

My stress is a pain in the neck.literally. Look at your posture. Are you slumped over?  Are your shoulders sniffing your ears? Let those shoulders slide down, do some neck rolls, take a deep nourishing breath, and relax. Many individuals commonly hold their stress in the neck and shoulder region. Fortunately, there is a plethora of methods to overcome that so-called pain in the neck. Chiropractic care, massage, acupuncture, meditation, exercise, and healthy eating are just a few holistic ways to reduce daily stress. The important thing is to try and recognize your pain and stress patterns, then take charge and change them.  
- Dr. Kristie Wallace, Beaufort Chiropractic Corp.


Top Causes of Stress in the U.S.
Job Pressure
   Co-Worker Tension
    Work Overload
   Loss of Job
    Reduced Retirement
    Medical Expenses
   Health Crisis
    Terminal or Chronic Illness
   Divorce/Family Issues
    Death of Spouse
    Arguments with Friends
Poor Nutrition
    Inadequate Nutrition
    Processed Foods
    Refined Sugars
Media Overload
    Internet | E-Mail
    Social Networking
Sleep Deprivation
   Inability to release
    adrenaline and other
    stress hormones

By the Numbers
77% People who regularly experience physical symptoms caused
by stress.

73% Regularly experience psychological symptoms caused by stress.

48% Feel their stress has increased over the past five years.

76% Cited money and work as the leading cause of their stress.

48% Reported lying awake at night due to stress.

Physical and Psychological Symptoms of Stress
Upset stomach
Muscle tension
Change in appetite
Teeth grinding
Change in sex drive
Feeling dizzy
Irritability or anger
Feeling nervous
Lack of energy
Feeling as though you could cry

Unhealthy Ways of Coping with Stress
These coping strategies may temporarily reduce stress, but they cause more damage in the long run:
Drinking too much
Overeating or undereating
Zoning out for hours in front of the TV or computer
Withdrawing from friends, family, and activities
Using pills or drugs to relax
Sleeping too much
Filling up every minute of the day to avoid facing problems
Taking out your stress on others (lashing out, angry outbursts, physical

Stress Management Strategies
Avoid unnecessary stress Not all stress can be avoided, and it's not healthy to avoid a situation that needs to be addressed. You may be surprised, however, by the number of stressors in your life that you can eliminate.
Alter the situation If you can't avoid a stressful situation, try to alter it. Figure out what you can do to change things so the problem doesn't present itself in the future. Often, this involves changing the way you communicate and operate in your daily life.
Adapt to the stressor If you can't change the stressor, change yourself. You can adapt to stressful situations and regain your sense of control by changing your expectations and attitude.
Accept the things you can't change Some sources of stress are unavoidable. You can't prevent or change stressors such as the death of a loved one, a serious illness, or a national recession. In such cases, the best way to cope with stress is to accept things as they are. Acceptance may be difficult, but in the long run, it's easier than railing against a situation you can't change.
Make time for fun and relaxation Beyond a take-charge approach and a positive attitude, you can reduce stress in your life by nurturing yourself. If you regularly make time for fun and relaxation, you'll be in a better place to handle life's stressors when they inevitably come.
Adopt a healthy lifestyle You can increase your resistance to stress by strengthening your physical health.

Healthy and Simple Ways to Relax and Recharge
. Go for a walk
. Spend time in nature
. Call a good friend
. Sweat out tension
with a good workout
. Write in your journal
. Take a long bath
. Light scented candles
. Savor a warm cup of
coffee or tea
. Play with a pet
. Work in your garden
. Get a massage
. Curl up with a good book
. Listen to music
. Watch a comedy


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