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Ways to cope with stress | Dr. Petter
Does life seem overwhelming? Do you feel pulled in every direction but the way you want to go? Do you feel you are losing control, perhaps threatened or overly challenged? Has your joy and happiness been replaced with worry and frustration?
Who is not stressed, especially given our economy?
We feel stressed when demands on us are not balanced with effective coping strategies. A survey released by the American Psychological Association this year revealed that Americans are most stressed about money (75 percent), followed by work (70 percent) and the economy (67 percent).
In addition, three out of four adults surveyed reported having physical symptoms as a result of overwhelming stress, and only 36 percent of those admitted to handling stress effectively.
Stress can cause significant physical and psychological symptoms. Examples include: chest pain, heartburn, headaches, insomnia, increased blood pressure, hair loss, neck and back pain, weakened immunity, anxiety, panic episodes and depression.
Learning to cope effectively with stress takes time and practice. First, be sure to eat a healthy diet and don't skip meals. Sleep seven to nine hours every night. Exercise for 30 minutes, five to seven days a week.
In addition, spend at least 30 minutes a day doing those things that you enjoy. Examples may include: listening to music, reading a book, getting a massage, working on crafts, taking the dog for a walk or spending quality time with your family.
If you are unable to manage your stress well, make an appointment to see your doctor. Besides counseling services, prescription medications may be of benefit.
Dr. Linda Petter of Auburn is a weekly feature on the KOMO TV/News Radio in Seattle (1000 AM and 97.7 FM) every Saturday and Sunday 7:45 a.m. and 9:45 a.m., and on a weekday during the morning and evening commute. She trained at the Mayo Clinic and the University of Illinois, Carle Hospital. Petter is chief of the Department of Family Practice at St. Francis Hospital in Federal Way. She is a consumer healthcare advocate, and her books, "Healthcare on a Budget" and "Common Medical Sense", are available on Amazon.com. Visit her website, www.docforall.com, or call her office at 253-568-0841.