Sunday, April 26, 2015

Anger & Stress: Is There A Connection?

Modern life is full of demands. In today's world, multi-tasking is a necessary skill set, not a choice. There is no escape. In fact, the rapid pace of daily life, in the 21st century, is often referred to as "Moving at the speed of business". This translates into stress at the 'Nth' degree. So what does an average day is this ever changing, constantly moving, life on the go look like? Is it really overwhelming, or have people forgotten how to work hard? On the contrary, in today's modern age, many people work and go to school, while others work and try to raise a family, and still others work, go to school, and raise families. Throw in the daily commute, deadlines, sports for the kids, family obligations, and we can clearly see how the stress just keeps mounting. So what happens when our stress level is never relieved? For most people, this results in self neglect, anger, and resentment. Clearly, we have to give up something to meet the demands of daily life. Because the time has to come from somewhere, for many people this means skipping meals or eating fast food, some days there isn't even time to shower let alone style hair or keep up nails, and certainly no time for the gym. As the pressure continues to build, fueled by months and years of self denial, the hamster wheel of modern life grows into a volcano waiting to erupt fed by a steady diet of stress, repressed anger, and resentment which then manifests as fighting with family, partners, yelling at the kids, and possible health concerns. In more extreme cases, this type of unrelenting stress can result in marital discord, depression, anxiety, and family conflict. According to the Mayo Clinic, physical symptoms correlated with stress levels of this caliber often include high blood pressure, anxiety, weight gain/loss, frequent illness, and visible signs of poor self care ( In short, the correlation between stress and anger is clear and something must and will give. The question is, at what cost? Will it be physical health, mental health, or family stability? In order to offset the impact of stress associated with modern life, an intervention strategy designed to maximize time while offering maximum results is needed. Of the various stress reducing supports available, the following techniques appear to offer the most benefit in the least amount to time: 1) Creating balance - Making you the priority: a) Work with partner/family to create equal distribution of duties b) Restructure schedules to afford 1 hour a day of uninterrupted personal time c) Work with family/friends to create parenting co-op to afford one or two date nights a month 2) Stress Reduction applications for smart phones: a) Breath to Relax (free) b) Anxiety Self Help (free) c) Cleveland Clinic Stress Meditations ($0.99) d) Stress Check ($1.99) e) Pocket Yoga ($2.99) 3) Additional smart phone resources for stress or crisis management: a) b) Although there is no cure for modern life, there are ways to manage and/or reduce day to day stress. Balance is the key, and with careful planning quality of life is truly achievable. The key, is to recognize the signs and symptoms of stress overload before they hit critical mass. If you, or a loved one, have begun to demonstrate the following clinical signs or symptoms of stress, professional intervention is strongly suggested: 1) Frequent headaches, jaw clenching or pain, teeth gritting/grinding 2) Neck ache, back pain, muscle spasms 3) Light headedness, faintness, dizziness, ringing in the ears or popping 4 Irritable, easily annoyed, angry 5) Frequent colds, infections, herpes sores, rashes, itching, hives, “goose bumps”, unexplained or frequent “allergy” attacks 6) Heartburn, stomach pain, nausea 7) Weight gain or loss of more than 5 pounds 8) Diminished or lack of sexual desire For further information, or to consult regarding symptoms or concerns, please contact your local healthcare or mental health professional, or visit the American Stress Institute online at