Stress Spot: The Neck, Head, and Back
Pituitary, hypothalamic, and adrenal hormones flood the body, focusing your attention and alertness, sharpening vision, and preparing muscles to take action against a threat. When the perceived danger does not go away, you lose the ability to return to equilibrium.
The Fix: Create a three-legged life. Add balance to your home, your work, and yourself to create a buffer against stress. "If one leg of the stool goes down, you have others to hold you up," says Munir Soliman, MD, director of the Center for Wellness & Personal Growth at the University of California, San Diego.
Stress Spot: The Hair
Researchers from the University of Western Ontario may have found a biomarker to measure chronic stress. It's hair. They took follicle samples from about 100 men, half of whom where hospitalized for heart attacks, and found that hair cortisol was highest in the heart patients. Since hair grows about 1 centimeter a month, researchers used 3-centimeter samples to provide a record of stress levels over the previous three months. Scientists believe the findings bolster the theory that chronic stress may contribute to heart attack just as acute stress does.
The Fix: Focus on somebody besides numero uno. "People who have a problem with anxiety often get lost in measuring and judging themselves," says Mel Schwartz, a Connecticut-based psychotherapist. "The critical voice is enslaving." Try focusing on others. Showing respect and appreciation for others has an amazing ability to diffuse obsessive thoughts and behavior caused by preoccupation with the self.