Doctors have long cautioned that there is a correlation between chronic stress and heart disease, but until now, it wasn’t known exactly how the two were connected. Now, researchers from Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital have found what they believe is the missing link: overproduction of white blood cells, or leukocytes. Excess white blood cells contribute to blood vessel inflammation and plaque accumulation in the arteries, upping the risk for blood pressure problems, stroke, and heart attack.
If you find yourself negatively affected by a long commute, low pay, lack of work-life balance, or some other work-related issue, you are not alone. According to the 2014 Work Stress Survey, eight out of 10 Americans share your pain.
Of course, work has never been a stress-free environment, but it is generally accepted that workplace stress and anxiety is on the rise in nearly every field of employment. While chronic stress is never good for anyone, these statistics suggest even more potential problems for those who suffer from anxiety disorders.
These days it seems like not a day goes by without a least one alarming news report highlighting the “epidemics” besieging the United States – obesity, cancer, Type II diabetes, autism, and on and on. But there is an epidemic going on in this country that receives considerably less fanfare: chronic pain. According to the National Institutes of Health, chronic pain is a condition that impacts more Americans than cancer, heart disease, and diabetes combined. In fact, it can be so debilitating that chronic pain is the leading cause of Americans going on long-term disability. While there are seemingly infinite possible causes of long-term pain, studies have shown that it is often inextricably linked with stress, anxiety and depression.
Growing up as an anxious child, one of the biggest conflicts between my parents and me was my tendency to procrastinate on absolutely everything. It wasn’t until I finally sought help for my anxiety many years later, that I learned that procrastination is actually a relatively common symptom of anxiety. It is something I still struggle with to this day, which is why I was particularly interested when I came across a new study, published in the Journal of Personality, where researchers examined this very phenomenon.
A common complaint I hear from anxiety sufferers is that those who don’t share their struggle just can’t understand what it’s like. People with anxiety disorders (myself included) are too often on the receiving end of well-meaning advice like, “That’s not something to get upset about,” or “Try not to worry about it.”
While the intentions are usually good, this advice is misguided and not helpful for those of us trying to manage anxiety. In fact, recent scientific research shows that the way stress and anxiety impact us, is largely determined by our genes. In other words, the difference between someone who can easily navigate life’s challenges and someone who struggles to cope, may actually be their genetic makeup. [Read more…]
New study indicates stress can be contagious
In the American Psychological Association’s 2013 Stress in America survey, 61% of respondents said they believe that stress management is very important, but 44% don’t think they’re doing enough to deal with their stress. What’s more, nearly 20% report that they don’t engage in any sort of stress management at all. If you count yourself among the ranks of frazzled Americans who aren’t doing enough to lower your stress levels, here’s another reason to make it a priority: a new study out of Germany has found that stress can actually be contagious. [Read more…]
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is a medicinal herb that has a centuries-long track record of treating a multitude of conditions, ranging from low energy to chronic pain to fertility issues. Additionally, due to the herb’s calming properties, one of the most common uses of Ashwagandha is for anxiety treatment.
The month of April always feels like a turning point in the year. We celebrate favorite spring holidays like Easter and Passover, families unwind over spring vacation, and the weather finally starts to improve; reminding us that summer is just around the corner.
But did you know that April is also National Stress Awareness month? With this effort, every April since 1992, health care professionals have worked to spread awareness of country’s stress epidemic and its consequences.
Recent studies underscore the need for early interventions for children.
Chronic stress is an experience shared by so many Americans that it is at near epidemic levels. Because of its prevalence in our society, there has been a wealth of stress-related research published in the past 20 years.
It’s well understood within the medical community that anti-anxiety drugs and sleeping pills carry the hefty risks of addiction, overdose, serious accidents, and cognitive impairment. Now, a British study published in the BMJ has found that over the course of nearly 8 years, death rates more than doubled in people who were taking these prescription medications.