Stress

(Editors Note: Now that the County has announced the opening of Monroe County June 1, this article may help us all deal with the unknown.)

By Jerry Weinstock MD

 

An explanation of “stress” that has been our constant companion. Throughout our lives, but particularly now in this “epidemic”, has become an intense factor amplified greatly in our everyday emotions.  Understanding that stress is what humans and animals define as our interpretation or better perceives as a  “threat”. This perception varies with each person toward the plague of Coronavirus.  Stress, taken into its parts are either anxiety, depression, or sometimes obsession. When any of these integral fractions of stress run rampant (become chronic), many of the body’s core protective inner processes cease to be able to perform at their prime level and could even be disrupted and not function Most importantly, imbedded among other systems is our immunity, which our emotions (exacerbated by stress) can suppress. In summary, to be affected by Stress, we must have a “Threat”.  What conscious human being doesn’t have multiple threats that lead to anxiety, depression, and mental illness affecting a vast number of physical illnesses such as cardiovascular (heart disease and hypertension), many forms of cancer, kidney disease, Alzheimer’s, Infectious diseases, and

Jerry Weinstock MD

troublesome pain disorders.  Who started this entire new critical specialty of medicine, that only has been recently realized and has become highly significant and expanded almost daily.  The study originated by Dr. Hans Selye, whose roots go back to Austria and Hungary, but mainly McGill University in Montreal.  He has written 2 books– THE STRESS OF LIFE” and “STRESS WITHOUT DISTRESS”.  This whole new branch of complicated medicine is not all bad.  When caught in a crowded intersection, the brain sends signals by way of the autonomic nervous system to usually the limbic system, then the adrenal glands, which pumps in hormones like epinephrine and cortisol, massive energy into the bloodstream, the heart begins to beat faster and blood rushes to muscles and other organs; breathing becomes rapid.  When Stress is over and threat passes, the nervous system pumps the brakes. Let us understand, we could write a book about stress, and still not cover it adequately.  Coronavirus will be our main topic.  Dr. Selye feels that laughter and spending time with close friends and The family has established stress busters. Pets are the favorite for many, but and the anxious pet does not create a stressed-out owner, although it is in the range of possibility.  However, an anxious owner often creates a stressed pet.  Money is a huge stressor, (changing a poker and one that will converse can help).  A good conversation can be a potent modulator for many kinds of suffering. Meditation and mind-fullness is a tool that helps many.  Mindfulness is an awareness of purpose that is being just aware of the moment cutting out the past and the future. This kind of relaxation can lessen stress uniting the body and mind and just living which at this time in our history is crucial for our survival.  There It is only one of you and one must try to accept that.  You are important, basically nothing else. Realistic expectations find sustenance and yes, perhaps gratitude in ourselves— for each of us is unique in all the world.  In my practice, we work on that sometimes for more than a year. We will designate the Coronavirus as the “threat” causing stress giving rise to anxiety and this perception varies differently from person to person.  Some people are paralyzed with Anxiety from Stress, a few individuals are bothered only slightly.  How to handle Anxiety from this “stress” when the society we took for granted is down as we ourselves are caged.  I play the piano and to my surprise, parts I recall from decades ago give me more and more relief, a reduction from that stress it is wonderful!

Creative solutions: slapping paint on a  canvas guided by nothing but emotion, a dream fragment, sleep or a  daydream, a thought,  hobbies, like playing various instruments, reading, any kind of exercise, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, barbells a few minutes several times a day, push-ups, swimming, social media (limited, has negative problems), golf (whatever one can dream up should the regular course only allow a minimal number of players), bird watching, getting vegetables and fruits by searching markets..better than meat or processed junk—diets like that can elevate the immune system. seafood = omega proteins—another good immune supporter!! Watching sports, tennis, football, etc.—writing, keeping a daily notebook, limiting time watching frenzied, exaggerated news media. I do not watch our president at all, lies, and distortions like the artful propaganda spewed by Fox News. Why upset me.??  Our Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been gutted and gagged by Trump.  Our best scientists have left for analogs to our CDC’s in other countries; we must look to and hope they are able to develop a Vaccine.  Having been a medical researcher, I know the 8 clearly defined steps or levels necessary to develop a safe Vaccine.  One important ray of optimism is that SARS, MERS and even SARS-COV-2 related to our Pandemic cause–Coronavirus have completed some steps toward a Vaccine.  Funding should not be a problem, which it has been developing other Vaccines. Something of fascination to close on comes from the great basketball player, Michael Jordan, and lowered my worries and anxieties for a short time; –grateful for any help, and so passing it on to readers.  Jordan basically practiced so long and rigorously that most of his moves became intuitively embedded.  The stress of the game was reduced greatly and some of the contest was as a variety of relaxation.  Jordan found a way to lower his stress level; it was amazing and, most important, INSPIRING!!.  (A lesson for the rest of us, incredible.)