The stress pandemic and you
Excerpted from www.lifestyle.org – the website for “a truly healthy lifestyle”
Written by Paul Huljich, author of “Stress Pandemic – 9 Natural Steps to Survive and Master Stress and Live Well”
Paul Huljich co-founded Best Corporation, a pioneering organic foods company of which he was chairman and joint-CEO. The company’s value grew to more than $100 million, but Paul eventually developed a number of severe stress-related conditions. Ultimately, he was diagnosed by several psychiatrists in 1998 as suffering from bipoloar disorder as a result of years of unchecked stress. That year, he experienced a full nervous breakdown, losing his rights as a citizen and being made a ward of the state.
Despite seeking the best care available, Huljich was informed that there was no cure and that he would inevitably relapse. Determined to free himself of his conditions, he began a comprehensive search for answers. He traveled to the world-renowned Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and admitted himself to the Menninger Clinic in Kansas.
Aided by exhaustive research, Huljich ultimately succeeded in mastering stress, overcoming his conditions and achieving a healthy, positive way of life by developing and implementing his nine-step overall wellness plan.
Since the year 2000, Huljich has not taken any medication related to his conditions, suffered any relapse nor needed any further treatment regarding any kind of mental illness.
Huljich’s previous book, Betrayal of Love and Freedom, a novel based in part on his experiences, addresses the subject of mental wellness. He has been featured in Psychology Today, been interviewed by more than one hundred radio shows nationwide, made numerous television appearances and has been featured in more than 120 newspapers.
Huljich is the father of three sons: Mark, Simon and Richard. He resides in New York City for most of the year and visits his homeland, New Zealand, regularly.
We are under the greatest psychological assault in our history, as few would argue that we live in a world overrun by stress.
Our bodies and minds are no longer able to tolerate this assault and as a result people are growing weak and becoming sick. It is urgent that something has to change
Stress Pandemic is an expression I term coined to describe the unrelenting stress that our global society is experiencing today.
It is important to realize, and we must accept, that stress is a part of life. Modern life is full of frustrations, deadlines, demands and hassles. For many people, stress is so commonplace that it has become an accepted way of life. Stress in moderation isn’t always bad. It can motivate and help you perform under pressure to do your best. Yet when you’re constantly running in emergency “fight or flight” mode, both your mind and body pay the price.
When stress is chronic and remains unchecked, stress can impair us mentally, emotionally and physically. If your entire body is subjected to stress for a prolonged period, the body’s natural self-healing abilities are not able to cope, and go into a state of shock. Such long-term exposure to stress can lead to serious health problems as chronic unchecked stress disrupts nearly every system in your body – it can raise blood pressure, suppress the immune system, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, contribute to infertility, and speed up the aging process.
Overwhelming psychological stresses can cause both temporary and long-lasting symptoms of a serious mental and physical illnesses.
If you frequently find yourself feeling frazzled and overwhelmed, it’s time to take a moment, stop and evaluate, and bring your exhausted nervous system back into balance. You can protect yourself by learning how to recognize the signs and symptoms of stress and by doing so, take steps to reduce its harmful effects in the long-term.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one in every four people develops one or more mental disorders at some stage in life. Today, 450 million people globally suffer from mental disorders in both developed and developing countries. It is estimated by 2020, depression will be the greatest burden of global ill-health, and severe depression will be the second largest cause of death and disability.
More often than not, stress is a leading factor of much of these frightening facts, as stress is a leading, adverse lifestyle factor that can lead to a severe deterioration in our way of life, and thus health. For this reason and more, I wish to share how my suggested way of life offers a way for people to fight back and achieve optimal health and well-being.
Stress Pandemic: The Lifestyle Solution contains the practical keys to mastering stress and living fully that were built through my own personal experience in curing myself naturally of severe and manic depression, severe anxiety and ultimately (as this was the root of it all) – severe stress.
I hope through this simple, healthy way of life I can help prevent stress from destroying people’s lives. By implementing my 9 lifestyle steps, you can help free yourself from daily stress and work toward achieving a happier and healthier state of mind and life!
Stay tuned for more on the Nine Natural Steps outlined in Stress Pandemic:
- Step 1: Take Charge
- Step 2: Kick Your Bad Habits
- Step 3: Learn to say “No.”
- Step 4: Affirmations
- Step 5: Exercise
- Step 6: Nutrition
- Step 7: Sleep
- Step 8: The Power of Awareness
- Step 9: Don’t Give Up
Stress on the job
Three out of every four American workers describe their work as stressful. In fact, occupational stress has been defined as a “global epidemic” by the United Nations’ International Labor Organization; while the physical and psychological effects of this epidemic are often underscored, the economic consequences also are alarming. Occupational stress costs U.S. employers an estimated $200 billion per year in absenteeism, lower productivity, staff turnover, workers’ compensation, medical insurance and other stress-related expenses.
Job-related stress comes in different forms and affects your wellness in different ways. Small things can make you feel stressed, such as your computer crashing or phones that won’t quit ringing. Major stress comes from having too much or not enough work or doing work in which you find very little meaning. Also conflicts with your clients, coworkers, or superiors are other major causes of stress.
Experiencing stress is a normal. Stress releases hormones that speed up your heart, increase your breath, and provides you with sudden bursts of energy. Stress can be useful when you need to focus on or complete a big project; too much stress or being under stress for too long isn’t good for you. Excessive stress can interfere with your productivity and reduce your physical and emotional health. Constant stress can make you more likely to get more irritable or even more susceptible to illness. It can also lead to long-term health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and depression.
Following can be signs of job-related stress:
- Trouble sleeping
- Problems focusing or concentrating
- Short temper or increased irritability
- Decreased self-esteem
- Low morale
- Upset stomach
What causes occupational stress?
Often feeling as if you have no control over your work or job duties is the biggest cause of job stress. People who feel like they have no control at work are most likely to get stress-related illnesses. Also, taking on extra responsibilities and duties in your job can be stressful, especially if you already have too much work to do and you’re not being adequately compensated for your newfound increased work load. If you don’t find enough meaning in your job, you may find it stressful and this can impair your overall performance. This in turn can lead to your feeling insecure about your job performance which is yet another major source of stress for many people in the work place. Lastly, poor communication, lack of support from your boss or colleagues, and poor working conditions such as unpleasant or dangerous conditions only add fuel to the bonfire of unrelenting stress that can be found on the job.
There are a variety of steps you can take to reduce both your overall stress levels and the stress you find on the job and in the workplace. These include:
- Taking responsibility and being proactive in improving your physical and emotional well-being.
- Learning better communication skills to ease and improve your relationships with management and coworkers.
- Make time for you.
- Stay positive.
- Reward yourself.
- Schedule time to exercise.
- Practice breathing and meditative techniques.
The ability to manage stress in the workplace can not only improve your physical and emotional health, it can also make the difference between success or failure on the job. Your emotions can be contagious, and stress not only has an impact on the quality of your well-being but also in interactions with your loved ones. The better you are at managing your own stress, the more you’ll positively affect those around you, and the less other people’s stress will negatively affect you.
A lifestyle disease is associated with the way a person or group of people lives. Lifestyle diseases include atherosclerosis, heart disease, and stroke; obesity and type 2 diabetes; and diseases associated with smoking and alcohol and drug abuse. Lifestyle diseases appear to become ever more widespread presently as countries become more industrialized and for the first time in history these lifestyle diseases kill more people than communicable ones.
In fact, the scale and disastrous potential of these diseases recently led the United Nations to call only its second high-level summit on a health issue this past September (the first was over Aids in 2001). Cancers, heart disease, diabetes, strokes and lung conditions already cost rich countries considerably in terms of the health bills and productive life span of their citizens.
But the blight of what the World Health Organization (WHO) calls the “non-communicable diseases” (NCDs) is rapidly spreading across all parts of the globe, fuelled by obesity as a result of bad diet and sedentary lifestyles, together with alcohol and smoking. These diseases were responsible for around 36 million of the 57 million global deaths in 2008, including about 9 million deaths before the age of 60, many of which are preventable.
While countries such as the United States have imposed smoking bans, heavy taxation on cigarettes and alcohol as well as restricted junk food advertising to children, most developing countries have yet to address these issues.
That combined with the fact that the food, alcohol and tobacco industries in these developing countries have not only adopted marketing and production strategies there that would be unacceptable in Europe or in north America but have dispatched powerful lobbyists to bolster their sales, only fans the flames of this growing epidemic.
Fiscally speaking, treating these diseases — and the unsuccessful attempts to “cure” them — costs more than one-seventh of the United States’ GDP. In a recent issue of the magazine Circulation, the American Heart Association editorial board reported that costs in the U.S. from cardiovascular disease — the leading cause of death here and in much of the rest of the world — will triple by 2030, to more than $800 billion annually. Increase this amount by about $276 billion of what they call “real indirect costs,” i.e. productivity, and you have over a trillion dollars total.
We are living in a dangerous time filled with unrelenting, dangerous levels of stress. However instead of preventing stress from destroying our lives, we are feeding into stress by developing bad habits such as drinking, smoking and eating the wrong kinds of foods. This behavior is what causes lifestyle diseases and it is these lifestyle diseases which are not only wreaking havoc on our planet but killing us.
But the good news is that we can fight back in realizing that prevention is the key. For you can prevent these lifestyle diseases the same way you cause them: lifestyle. My book “Stress Pandemic” provides nine natural steps for you to begin the journey toward true optimal health and well-being.