What Is Stress?
Until fairly recently, the definition of the word stress did not include applications to the human body. It was and is, as Webster’s notes, a strain or straining force exerted upon a body that tends to strain or deform its shape – a meaning that pretty much hits the mark when applied to people. When needed some stress tends to keep us alert and prepared for the challenges in our lives. Excessive or adverse stress, however, the kind first described in 1936 by Canadian physician and researcher Hans Selye, can put great strain on us and threaten our well-being. Stress can cause irritability, muscle tension, depression, sleeplessness, loss of memory or other cognitive function and far more serious problems, including increased heart rate and blood pressure, palpitations and ultimately cardiac arrest.
“Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one.”
Learn how to change your stress responses and boost your emotional power with the emTech Media e-booklet or audio file called Transforming Stress. Stress is pervasive, life threatening and very modern
- An estimated 75% to 90% of visits to primary-care physicians are for stress-related complaints.
- In 2002, people in the United States alone bought nearly $17.2 billion worth of antidepressants and anti anxiety drugs, up more than 10 percent from 2001.
- According the Centers for Disease Control, adult use of antidepressants almost tripled from 1988 to 1994 and 1999 to 2000.
- A Harvard study showed individuals who lived in a state of high anxiety were four and a half times more likely to suffer sudden cardiac death than non-anxious individuals.
A New Perspective
Some researchers have concluded it’s our perception of events, not the actual events themselves that cause most of our stress. HeartMath researchers, however, have studied the problem of stress for more than two decades and have determined it’s not only our perception of events, but, more important, our “emotional response” to the perception. For example, the “feeling” of not having enough time was the number one answer given in a survey asking people what causes their stress. It would seem time pressure is the culprit, but it’s actually the “feeling” of not having enough time that is the real culprit, and that feeling brings on anxiety, frustration and a sense of being overwhelmed. The inability to appropriately and healthfully address such negative emotions is the primary cause of today’s burgeoning stress epidemic. Through HeartMath’s scientifically validated tools you can learn to change stress responses by managing your emotions, activating positive emotions and converting your old negative response patterns into new positive ones.
Benefits of Stress Reduction
- Improved health, feeling of well-being and quality of life
- Improved intuition, memory and cognitive function
- More energy during the day, restful sleep at night
- More heartfelt feelings like love, appreciation and kindness
- Less impatience, irritability or fits of anger
“If you ask what is the single most important key to longevity,I would have to say it is avoiding worry, stress and tension. And if you didn’t ask me, I’d still have to say it.”
Tools For Reducing Stress
Relaxation: It’s the universal antidote recommended for reducing stress. True, relaxation can put the brakes on stress, but eventually, unless you intend to relax in seclusion the rest of your life, you’ll have to get back to the realities of living your life. In short, we all must find ways to negotiate the freeways of modern life. These tools can help.
Transforming Stress: The HeartMath Solution for Relieving Worry, Fatigue and Tension – Childre, Rozman, 2004. Learn more about the warning signs of chronic stress and what you should know about your “intelligent heart” and how it can help you immediately begin reducing the stress in your life. You’ll learn several key HeartMath tools and techniques, including the complete details of the Attitude Breathing® tool and step-by-step instructions on how and when to use it.
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emWave®: Regular use of this scientifically validated, stress-relief technology has proven to be a vital tool in reducing anxiety, stress, anger, emotional chaos and boosting energy and vitality. The emWave technology is easy to use and noninvasive. It will help you achieve heart coherence – synchronization between the heart and brain – and reach your optimal physical, mental and emotional balance. When your emotions are in balance, you stop the energy drain and start the energy gain. Then, by practicing the easy-to-learn techniques you’ll receive with your emWave only minutes a day will help you revitalize and re-energize your mind, body and spirit anytime, anywhere.
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emWave® Pro: emWave Pro turns your computer into a self-contained heart-rhythm-coherence monitor and manager. It lets you see how thoughts and emotions affect your heart rhythms – negative ones pulling you down and draining your energy, positive ones lifting you up and allowing your body to perform its normal function of replenishing your energy. Discover how easily you can reduce your stress level and replace those negative emotions with positive ones that, with a little practice, can give you instant energy boosts and gradually help build a more invigorated you. Relying on decades of scientific research, the emWave Pro, in tandem with key HeartMath techniques that you’ll receive and easily learn, will help you increase your energy and start living life more fully.
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Impact of a Workplace Stress Reduction Program on Blood Pressure and Emotional Health in Hypertensive Employees: McCraty, Atkinson, Tomasino, 2003. This study involved 38 employees with hypertension who were randomly assigned to a treatment group that received a stress-reduction intervention or a waiting control group that received none. The conclusion: A brief workplace stress-management intervention can reduce blood pressure, improve emotional health and enhance workplace performance.
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The Physiological and Psychological Effects of Compassion and Anger: Rein, Atkinson and McCraty, published in the Journal of Advancement in Medicine, 1995, 8(2): 87-105. Reprinted by permission. Salivary IgA, heart rate and mood were measured in 30 individuals before and after experiencing care or anger. Two methods of inducing these emotional states were compared: self-induction and external induction via videotapes. Anger produced a significant increase in total mood disturbance and heart rate, but not in S-IgA levels. Positive emotions, however, produced a significant increase in S-IgA levels.