I have seen it time and again, as a doctor and patients coming to me with well documented stress-related illnesses. It is estimated that 43% of adults suffer stress-related problems and that 75-90% of visits to doctors' offices are for stress-related illness. According to Candace Per, Ph.D., in her book Molecules of Emotion, cancer patients' recoveries are significantly slower when anger or emotions are held in, and much research on this phenomenon is being conducted. It has also bee well documented that more heart attacks occur on Monday mornings (when the stressful work week begins) than on any other day.

Women are particularly vulnerable to excessive, toxic stress. Taking on more than we should, and not realizing it until it's too late, is often the problem. Many women simple do not recognize the extreme level at which stress is beating them up! It is interesting to note that some of the most healthy, happy women I have ever met are ones who have said no to most of the things you and I would never dream of saying no to.

I love questioning these women about how they take care of themselves and why they made the choices they did for their lives. It is also of interest to me that the women with the greatest hormonal upheavals are the ones whose lives are overloaded with stress.

What is frightening is that the vast majority of women who suffer from excessive toxic stress are the ones who do not recognize that it's stress that is making them sick. Every day, I work with women whom I beg to let go of certain things to have more peace and calmness in their lives and to recapture their health. I have found that many times women will not relinquish the very thing that is making them feel horrible, too often making comments like, "I just can't let go of these things I am responsible for; it would just be too hard."

Who says you can't? Who says you have to do everything you are doing? Why can't you say no? Are you doing things that really matter? Can you eliminate some things that really don't matter in the big picture?

A tough question for you to consider, especially if you have a family, is this: Who pays for your stress?

Sources of stress are not going to disappear, so how you choose to handle stress or alleviate it is the key. If you take steps today to reduce the effects of stress in your life, you'll reap a host of positive outcomes!
 
June 24, 2010
 
Nisha Jackson, Ph.D., M.S., W.N.P. has specialized in women's health since 1991, dedicating her practice to hormonal wellness and having helped both women and men improve their lives through hormonal balance. She is a syndicated radio and TV personality, author, national lecturer, spokesperson, and women's heath advocate.