Dirty Dozen: Stress

Find healthy stress-reducing activities

Is stress a killer? According to the American Heart Association stress causes high blood pressure and high blood pressure increases the likelihood for heart attack and stroke.  The American Heart Association states premature death from heart attack and stroke can be avoided or lessened by monitoring and lowering high blood pressure.

Dr. Paulette Ledoux, Ph.D., a tenured university psychology professor who has taught graduate student courses in psychology, states, “Recent research concludes that more than one in three Americans suffer from stress. Stress is a major contributor to a variety of health conditions. Consider these basic suggestions: Learn to recognize how you deal with stress. Then find healthy stress-reducing activities. Take care and time for yourself. When life gets hectic, pursue a hobby or escape activities. When feeling overwhelmed, reach out for support.”
Stimulus necessary; too much or too little is dangerous
The military of numerous countries have performed stimulus deprivation tests (SDT) to study the effect of individuals in various task situations. The research relating to divers and high altitude pilots were nearly the same. The lack of stimuli leads to an abnormal functioning of the mind. This malfunctioning may take place in the form of seeing imaginary items or creatures or in a virtual like state.

A lessening of the normal concentration of oxygen leads to hallucinations among the subjects. In divers, a condition often referred to as “rapture of the deep”appears to occur when the concentration ofoxygen and a lack of stimuli coexist. And the individuals believe they can remove their breathing apparatus and exist there without an air supply.

Stimulus deprivation tests are normally given by placing an individual in a tank of nearly body temperature water and wrapping the hands, arms, and legs in a foam like material to prevent contact or even the sensation of touch.

After a period of time, the individual usually begins to hallucinate and imagine creatures or items moving toward them.

High altitude pilots kept in SDT imagined object and creatures. Frequently these objects were surrounding them or flying beside them in space. These situations occurred after continued lack of stimulus.

Therefore, the human mind requires a certain amount of stimuli to live and to function properly, however an overabundance of stimuli may cause various other undesirable effects and stress.

Knowing the cause
One Midwestern school annually surveys students on the topic “What stresses you?” This has become a favorite way for students to vent their frustrations and address their stressors in writing.

Carla Ryba, director of the Pittsburgh Campus of Career Training Academy, states, “Students have more tensions in their lives today. They are struggling to balance parenthood, their education, full- or part-time jobs, and everyday issues that arise. Add to those stressors an unemployed spouse or severe financial problems and students have to overcome many obstacles to be successful in their education.”

Study of working professionals and adult students
In another study among working professionals and adult students remarkable similarities were found. The stressors or the items causing stress were extremely similar.
There are not many variations in the answers between students in post secondary schools, junior colleges, and technical schools and the typical adult work force. A majority of the answers ironically are involved in four items or issues. Those issues are money, time, family, and energy.

Your stressors ?

Money issues or finances

Time for goals -personal time

Family and relationships

Lack of energy, sleep problems

Work force *





Students **





*Adult workforce: The composition of the subjects (the universe of the study) consisted of 39.8 percent professionals, 34.1 percent blue collar, and 26.1 percent clerical/retail.

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