Stress. It really should be a four-letter word. Here in the 21st century, it's as pervasive as the air that we breathe and as contagious as the common cold.
Since stress is so difficult to avoid, why not make it work for you instead of against you? Stress is a force you can turn to your advantage. You don't have to run from it, and you don't have to go to a stress-management seminar to find out how to manage it. The following doctor-tested tips show you how to combat stress—and win. For relief when the world has you in a headlock, read on.
Too much stress can directly threaten your health.
If your symptoms are new and have no obvious cause, especially if they interfere with your quality of life, see a doctor, says Paul J. Rosch, M.D.
Any of the following stress-related symptoms may indicate that you should seek medical help promptly.
• Frequent headaches, jaw clenching or pain
• Gritting or grinding teeth
• Stuttering or stammering
• Tremors, trembling of lips or hands
• Neck ache, back pain, or muscle spasms
• Light-headedness, faintness, or dizziness
• Ringing, buzzing, or "popping sounds"
• Frequent blushing or sweating
• Cold or sweaty hands and feet
• Dry mouth or problems swallowing
Herbert Benson, M.D., is an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and director emeritus of the Benson-Henry Institute of Mind-Body Medicine and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
Bradley W. Frederick, D.C., is a chiropractor and director of the International Institute of Sports Medicine in Los Angeles.
Emmett Miller, M.D., is co-founder of the groundbreaking Cancer Support and Education Center in Menlo Park, California. He is a nationally recognized expert on stress and mind-body medicine and publishes experiential CDs and books.
Ronald Nathan, Ph.D., is a clinical professor at Albany Medical College in New York and author of The Fast Technique™ for Stress Relief.
Paul J. Rosch, M.D., FACP, is a clinical professor of medicine and psychiatry at New York Medical College in Valhalla, president of the American Institute of Stress, and honorary vice president of the International Stress Management Association. He has served as adjunct clinical professor of medicine in psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore and on the faculty of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.
Douglas Schar, Dip.Phyt., M.C.C.P., M.N.I.M.H., is a member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists in the United Kingdom and an herbalist in Washington, D.C. He has a diploma in phytotherapy.