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emotional stress. Our bodies react to a ton of bills and traffic the same way it does to life threatening situations. The more our stress reaction is “on” the harder it is to turn “off”. In time it affects our brain so you may be more vulnerable to depression, anxiety, autoimmune disorders, and all kinds of pain. Over time, this type of stress has serious health implications for almost all of our body systems. Chronic stress significantly increases the risk of:

• Heart problems
• Stroke
• Digestive problems
• High blood pressure
• Sleep disorders
• Speeding up the aging process

Believe it or not, stress can also affect men by decreasing sexual performance as well as the sperm count. In women stress can affect PMS, infertility, and menopausal hot flashes are often made worse. Eventually it affects your sex life. Do you really want this?

It is important to assess your ability to cope with stress in healthy ways. Your attitude and feeling of control may influence its affect on you. Do you feel in charge of your stress or does your stress control you? This is an important question to ask yourself.

So how do you know when stress has got you? The stress symptoms range from emotional, cognitive, behavioral and physical. Here is a partial list of our reactions when stress goes overboard:

• Excessive anger and hostility
• Anxiety
• Depression
• Difficulty concentrating
• Constant worry
• Moodiness
• Isolating
• Loss of sex drive
• Increased aches and pains
• Constipation or diarrhea
• Eating more or less
• Sleeping too little or too much

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