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Forget about guns and bullets.  Stress related illnesses will kill you.

Number of deaths for leading causes of death:

·         Heart disease: 614,348
·         Cancer: 591,699
·         Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 147,101
·         Accidents (unintentional injuries): 136,053
·         Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 133,103
·         Alzheimer's disease: 93,541
·         Diabetes: 76,488
·         Influenza and pneumonia: 55,227
·         Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 48,146
·         Intentional self-harm (suicide): 42,773

Source: Health United States, 2015 Table 19 [PDF- 9.8 MB] (Data are for 2014)

So from the above list except from “intentional self-harm (suicide)” which can come in different forms (pills, driving off a cliff, jumping off a tall building, gun to the head), we can see a basic trend for mortality.

As you know I volunteer my services as a Tai Chi instructor to teach patients with chronic conditions such as cancer. My research has suggested some root causes, evidence-based studies and opinions from reliable sources support my argument. 

All points toward “stress.”

The following article or post is one of many articles supporting my contention. 

I taught martial arts for over 40 years, Qigong and Tai Chi for about six. And in that time my intent was to introduce a unique form of exercise for baby boomers specifically those who can participate and benefit, a bucket list thing.  As time passed that led me to further research, I learned that the movements, ideas and the philosophies behind them were far-reaching.

One interesting note that I have learned that people through testimonies have verified health benefits to the point of cancer patients being healed to the point of remission. From a personal and layman’s point of view, truth lies behind these words. So when I teach classes, especially to those who are affected terribly to the point of losing almost all hope, I share these anecdotal testimonies and share them for healing and courage.

In one class I told them about my opinion on “multi-tasking” about a well-known slogans, “if we wanted to move up in this world, we had to work our tails off; skies the limit; you’ve got to give it all you got; do whatever it takes"…and so on.  It’s not without merit.  Some succeeded and others didn't; and, without realizing it, walked a road fraught with consequences. Examples.  Some ended up divorced, being drug addicts, participating in criminal activities, such as “white collar” crimes.  All for the pursuit of a dream.

Included in this big reward.  You got it.  “Stress.”

The above post “How Does Stress Affect Your Immune System?” provided an erudite and discussion on how stress affected our immune system. I remembered this old television commercial promoting margarine, where the theme was, “Don't mess with Mother Nature.” Well, I suppose, by overextending the natural response of stress, Mother Nature provided the body with a terrible unintended result, such as heart failure, diabetes, poor immune system, and cancer.

So what do we do? 

I'm reminded of this joke.

Question:  How many psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb? 

Answer:  One.  But the light bulb has to really want to change!

Let’s examine the following situation.

A business person travels to work; faces bumper to bumper traffic, arrives to work running to catch up with a long “to do list; does his/her thing, gets home, plays with kids, watches the news, decides to run to the gym and bang hours’ worth of exercise from Zumba, to power lifting, to yoga, to spin cycle, to Brazilian Jiujutsu, to cross fit, to this, to that.  It goes on and on.  Then he/she check cell phones for texts, social media posts, tweets. Goes to sleep after the 11 o’clock news.  Wakes up in the middle of the night because of a note to self about what isn’t finished or needs to be done or schedule a calendar regarding an important personal event like a son or daughter’s soccer game or recital. Several hours later of fitful sleep and the alarm goes off. 

The cycle repeats itself. 

Over and over, again.

Like a rubber band stretched to a breaking point, one of these days…

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Several doctor’s, labs and x-rays later, the doctor tells you, you have lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, hypertension, fatty liver, kidney failure, heart failure…


I realize that, for some, change is impossible. They are either stubborn, hardheaded, believe that habits can't be broken, or have big fat egos, so inflated that to suggest a change represents an affront to their lifestyle, their successes. 

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“Unprecedented financial pressures, and an ever-increasingly aggressive public culture, along with social, moral and spiritual fragmentation, are leading to lives being overwhelmed by stress, intolerable interior isolation and even quiet despair.” -- Sean Brady

I shake my head thinking that a successful dead person has no value to those that rely upon him or her for financial, mental and spiritual support.

“When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.” – Winston Churchill

My next posts will work on what small steps we can do.  Interested?

1 comment:

  1. Those who aren't moving up in the world I.e those in afew inner cities or those who don't like staying in one spot, I.e. myself tired of being a stay at home mom and wants to pursue her life dreams but can't, causes stress, also. Or how about the stress of others drama in your own life. And I agree, from my own life experience stress does make one sick.