Princeton Lifestyle Medicine

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(609) 655-3800 tel
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(609) 655-3800 tel

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What is Stress?


Definition of Stress:

Stress  is not a disease or a diagnosis  in itself.

It is generally defined  as the perception of a threat to someone's  physical  or psychological well-being with  the added perception that  the individual's responses  may be inadequate to cope with it. Our body's  stress mechanisms have developed  over millions of years to deal with relatively short  periods  of physical  danger  which most of us are unlikely  to face now. In our modern times,the stress mechanism is much  more likely  to be activated by situations that  cause us anxiety  or discomfort than by true physical danger. These stressors  are often  chronic  and psychological, in the form  of job stress, relationship conflicts, or money  problems." (Harvard Medical School CME)

Chronic  stress often  may be experienced as the symptoms of fatigue  and low energy, but may also be associated  with irritability, sleep disturbances, and feeling  depressed or down. The physical symptoms of chronic  stress can include headaches, gastrointestinal upset, and muscle tension, among  others. The physiological effect  on the body from  chronic  stress may in the long term, if not addressed, give rise to medical conditions including heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure, depression, and anxiety  disorders. The good news is that  there  are many simple, inexpensive strategies available  to choose from.  When employed in a regular, consistent way, they  significantly moderate the impact  of both acute and chronic  stressors. It's especially  important when dealing  with stress; to avoid using negative coping  strategies such as drugs, alcohol, or 'stress overeating' that  may improve mood in the short  term  but can have adverse  consequences  in the long term. Overall, a healthy lifestyle is essential in reducing  the long-term effects  of stress


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