Well, last month certainly saw a lot going on in the world.  March in my personal world got started with lunch with a client of mine from many years ago.   Over the years I have stayed friends with him and his wife and got some live face time during their visit from Nashville.  It was so wonderful to be with them in person again.  I also got to attend the Garth Brooks concert (an amazing event), cheered like a teenager.  Then the month wrapped up by celebrating another trip around the sun with lots of friends, great food, cards, and well wishes.  Thank you all for being in my world.  It is definitely better to be sharing my life with you. 


Stress and Illness: Is There a Connection and Solution?

Believe it or not, stress is not always the villain it's made out to be. In small, short-term doses, which is called acute stress, it can give an athlete the competitive edge or a public speaker the enthusiasm to project optimally. In cases, such as these it can actually boost the immune system. 

But chronic stress (which is long-term) over time can have significant negative effects on nearly every system of the body, suppressing the immune system and ultimately manifesting as an illness. This is the kind commonly encountered in daily life, such as work overload, financial difficulties, and marital/relationship problems; the life challenges that persist from day to day over a long period of time. 

The danger occurs when stress becomes persistent and consistent, a way of life. Chronic stress raises the risk of viral infection and diabetes. It can trigger severe problems for asthmatics, lead to gastrointestinal issues and cause high blood pressure, which brings an increased risk of heart disease and stroke, and this is only a partial list of the health dangers. 

We can become so used to the stress that we are unaware of the burden we are putting on our bodies and lives.  The best way to illustrate this is the frog story.  Maybe you have heard the story about how to boil a frog.  If you take a frog and put them into boiling water, it will immediately jump out of the pot.  But if you take that same frog and place him in a pot of cool water and slowly turn up the heat the frog will never jump out of the pot and will eventually die because the increase in temperature was so gradual that he didn’t notice the water was starting to boil.  That’s exactly what chronic stress does to us.  It’s so gradual we don’t know the damage it is doing to us. 

To get a handle on this silent adversary, you need to first recognize that you are chronically stressed. Here are four kinds of warning signs: 

Cognitive changes may include problems with memory, an inability to focus, or feeling worried or negative all the time. 

Emotional warnings can include feeling moody, lonely, overwhelmed, unhappy, bursts of anger, or depressed. 

Physical symptoms might include constant aches and pains, nausea, dizziness, or a rapid heartbeat. 

Behavioral symptoms might range from severe changes in sleeping or eating patterns to turning to bad coping habits such as smoking, drinking, or taking drugs. 

Life is out of balance being consumed with one area of life and ignoring everyone and everything else. 

Your ability to successfully navigate stress depends on factors such as quality of relationships, general outlook on life, emotional intelligence, and genetics. But the impact of stress accumulates. Just because you appear to tolerate stress well doesn't mean it’s not doing damage to your body and relationships that will show up for you in the future. 

The key is to use your wisdom to know that your chronic stress is sending you down a dangerous path.  Just because you are not sick or getting a divorce right now, please remember that the time to take corrective action is today.  Don’t boil like the frog. 

Besides exercise, sleep, and healthy eating, here are a few other ways to help protect your health. 

Seek activities or projects that make you feel good. For some, it's getting a massage, taking a class, or volunteering for your favorite charity. Determine what’s important to you and create a lifestyle that embraces and supports you.           

Strive for empowered thinking. While you can't necessarily control a system, another person's behavior, or others' impressions of you, you are always in control of your thoughts, actions, values, and choices.        

Enjoy yourself more. Find the places, people, and circumstances that authentically bring you delight, and insist on giving them a place in your life. Increasing joy can add years to your life. 

A little bit of stress isn't necessarily a bad thing. But when it’s constant and negative, our minds and bodies can pay a hefty price. Prevention truly is the best medicine. 


Since much of our stress is caused by our perception of people and events you might find this book helpful.  You Can Heal Your Life was written by the late Louise Hay, who I had the pleasure of meeting.  She was a gracious lady with a heart as big as her spirit.



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Did you hear that an advisory was just issued stating “If you have any sort of stress and we don’t have a conversation it could be hazardous to your health”  Click here

Stay safe, healthy, and happy!

Coach Jan  

Jan Cerasaro
Jan Cerasaro Coaching