Modern society has come to accept stress as a constant in life, often underestimating its long-term effect on health even though numerous studies have proved conclusively that it can aggravate physical or mental conditions. Prominent cardiologist and stress expert Dr. John M. Kennedy, notes, “People today constantly complain about being stressed, but in many cases, they make no effort to identify their main stressors and develop effective stress management techniques. Although individuals respond differently to external or internal pressures, there are several common triggers, each of them affecting health to a larger or smaller degree. Identifying the sources of stress and devising strategies to manage them is critical for improving health and mental well-being, which, in turn, benefits society at large given that the economic cost of stress is massive.”
Broadly speaking, stressors can be divided into three main groups: physical, psychological, and social. These categories are fluid, and there is significant overlap in some cases, but the most commonly identified triggers belong somewhere in there, says Dr. John M. Kennedy. Physical stressors include chronic illness, injury, nutritional problems (allergies or unhealthy eating habits), environmental pollution, and substance abuse. The psychological category contains triggers such as major life events (divorce or bereavement), conflict, and negative emotions (guilt, shame, anxiety, or jealousy). With regard to social triggers, relationships (personal or professional) and financial matters are the most commonly reported stressors. “Studies have found workplace stress to spill into personal relationships, creating a situation where stress becomes a chronic condition and starts to impair a person’s health,” comments Dr. John M. Kennedy. “Some statistics reveal that 80% of workers feel stress on the job, with 76% reporting that workplace stress has negatively impacted their personal relationships. Often cited effects of these pressures include loss of sleep, headaches, fatigue, and depression.”
Developing effective strategies for managing stress is vital because the long-term consequences can be devastating, Dr. John M. Kennedy points out. Chronic stress overloads and impairs the nervous, endocrine, respiratory, cardiovascular, reproductive, muscular, and immune systems, leading to serious health issues. The potential outcomes include high blood pressure, increased risk of stroke or heart attack, susceptibility to infections, hormonal imbalances, diabetes, ulcers, various body aches, impotence, infertility, and harmful behaviors (substance abuse or dietary issues). Aside from significantly improving individual health and well-being, identifying and dealing with the most common stressors can benefit society at large: the American Psychological Association estimates that stress costs the US economy $300 billion annually as a result of “accidents, absenteeism, employee turnover, diminished productivity, and direct medical, legal, and insurance costs.”
Dr. John M. Kennedy has dedicated 25 years to preventative and interventional cardiology, currently serving as medical director of preventive cardiology and wellness at Marina Del Rey Hospital in California. He is also affiliated with Kindred Health Care South Bay (Gardena, CA), Providence Little Company of Mary (Torrance, CA), and Memorial Hospital of Gardena (Gardena, CA). Drawing on his clinical experience and extensive research into stress and its effect on cardiovascular health, John Kennedy, MD has authored two popular books on the subject. The Heart Health Bible introduces his five-step plan for preventing and reversing heart disease, while The 15 Minute Heart Cure explores the effect of stress on the cardiovascular system and presents his stress-reduction technique BREATHE.
Breathe With Dr. Kennedy: https://breathewithdrkennedy.com
John Kennedy, MD, Explains the Steps of His Stress Reduction Technique BREATHE: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/john-kennedy-md-explains-steps-132200368.html
John Kennedy, MD, Outlines the Cardiovascular Benefits of Natural Stress Reduction: https://news.yahoo.com/john-kennedy-md-outlines-cardiovascular-004500297.html