Physicians and psychiatrists have proved that there is a positive correlation between stress and illness. People in transition experience various and variable levels of stress. And such stress is not a stand-alone issue but is compounded by other stressors. One study identified three types of life stresses: chemical, physical, and attitudinal. All together there are 43 sources of stress that can cause about 80 symptoms. Of course people have in their lives multiple sources that cause manifestations of compound symptoms.
With regard to chemical impact on the body, the study found coffee drinking, excessive consumption of sugar and salt, regular consumption of various prescription drugs, nicotine alcoholic beverages, air pollution, and even quality of water to be offenders. Physical stressors might be overweight, lack of exercise, excessive commuting, and sedentary lifestyle.
For the sake of this blog, I want to focus on the attitudinal and, more specifically, the emotional stressors and associated symptoms. Examples of stressors associated with being in transition are problems with sleep, inability to relax, heightened levels of frustration, potential for affecting relationship with spouse, adverse effect on mood, and feelings of hopeless and depression. And most people have a combination of such stressors. In terms of symptoms, people in transition might feel depressed or moody, get angry easily, gain or lose significant amounts of weight, go through bouts of insomnia, feel overcome with fatigue, lose ability to concentrate, and experience anxiety, worry, shyness, and isolation. So the question is, how to deal with all of those?
Clearly, ignoring the symptoms is not the answer. Hoping they’ll go away is only wishful thinking. Moreover, doing nothing can cause severe and long-lasting medical consequences. Unfortunately, there is no one answer that fits everybody. Women, for example, like spas, massages, and yoga more than men do. Theater, a movie, or dinner with friends or family may appeal to others. Some would even go for acupuncture and find in that a source for reducing stress. I like walking, which I do almost seven days a week. I walk outdoors when weather permits, and indoors on a treadmill otherwise. Occasionally, I also benefit from a Japanese healing art for stress reduction called Jin Shin Jyutsu. And I have an advantage when it comes to that, for my wife has been a practitioner for over 18 years.