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Psychologist: Managed stress improves health

Robin Walsh

Robin Walsh

ALBANY, Ga. -- Around 75 percent of all doctor visits are in some part related to stress, translating to many thousands of hours per day nationwide, according to Robin Walsh, instructor of psychology at Troy University.

Walsh addressed Kiwanis Club members at the Hilton Garden Inn last week on potential physical effects of mental and emotional stress.

He defined good mental health as having adequate sleep and nutrition and leading a "stress-less" lifestyle.

"Having a calm, stable and peaceful mind fosters good heart health and helps develop a strong immune system," Walsh said. "It can ultimately have a real affect on our longevity. Hundreds of studies in the past decade bear that out."

Walsh said the human mind can't distinguish between the stress of mounting bills, strong arguments or traffic jams and the threat of genuine danger. Under such an alarm, the brain signals the release of hormones. That in turn releases oxygen and glucose, which give emergency energy to the brain and muscles: the classic fight-or-flight mode. Most times modern man has neither option, and without release the body can be negatively affected.

Warning signs of excessive stress are plentiful, according to Walsh, and may include aches and pains, nausea, chest pain, rapid heartbeat or loss of memory. Eating changes are common, as are changes in sleep patterns. Many drink too much alcohol or smoke excessively.

To help alleviate stress, Walsh recommends an hour of moderate exercise three days a week. Studies have shown that regular exercise enhances mental health, boosts energy and confidence, and shields against depression. Volunteering in a community organization is also beneficial, reducing stress and providing a sense of purpose.

"Watch your thoughts because you become what you think about," Walsh said

Developing a sense of forgiveness and optimism, eating and sleeping right, and practicing relaxation techniques or meditation are great stress reducers as well, Walsh said.

Comments

FryarTuk 1 year, 7 months ago

Good article. Some good advice. Another aspect of stress is creativity. As in "necessity is the mother of invention' " and " necessity is the handmaiden of success." Managing and harnessing stress is a challenge for all productive persons.

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agirl_25 1 year, 7 months ago

We all handle stress in different ways so I can't depend on seminars or articles to help me decide. I myself have my own ways to handle it. I don't ever let it bother me. Period. I just tell myself "what the hell, it could be worse" and by gosh it could be. Everytime something bad has happened in my life in general, and let me tell you things have not been a bowl of cherries as far as health goes, I have told myself it could be worse, found an excellent surgeon and gotten it fixed and went off on my merry way. For the in general things, I go out in my woods and have a long talk with myself and tell myself how fortunate I am to have the kind of life I have and to be thankful for it. I am sure people think I am a nutcase and need a shrink. (I once had to see one because of a job at NASA that required a secret security clearance and he said I was more sane than most of his fellow psychiatrist.) Go figure. Go with what feels right for you......if people think you are nuts..well that is their problem, not your's.

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FryarTuk 1 year, 7 months ago

Sounds like you've got a pretty good method.

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agirl_25 1 year, 7 months ago

Worked so far...and chocolate sees me thru too...lots of chocolate.

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bubbavet 1 year, 7 months ago

Talk with God He won't turn you down because you don't have insurance.

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