Take a load off and pick up a book!
Reading is an effective means to combat daily stress
Stress is one of life's most common, and in many cases, most undefinable factors.
The term "stress" as it is currently used was coined by Hans Selye in 1936, who defined it as "the non-specific response of the body to any demand for change."
A National Health Interview Survey recently revealed that more than 75 percent of the general population experiences some level of stress on a daily basis.
So that means that at some point in life, the majority of Americans will experience some form of stress — whether it is work-related or in their personal lives.
There are two major types of stress.
Eustress is a helpful type of stress. It comes into play when a person's fight or flight response kicks in. It mostly occurs prior to having to exert physical force.
Distress is a negative type of stress. This usually occurs when the mind and body undergoes a change in routine. There are two types of distress — acute stress, which comes in quickly in response to immediate change, and chronic stress, which occurs when a person experiences constant change for weeks.
- Stress contributes to heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes, and other illnesses in many individuals.
- Stress also affects the immune system, which protects us from many serious diseases.
- Stress also contributes to the development of alcoholism, obesity, suicide, drug addiction, cigarette addiction, and other harmful behaviors.
- Stress in society is so prevalent that the U.S. Public Health Service has made reducing stress one of its major health promotion goals.
- Forty-three percent of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress.
- Seventy-five percent to 90 percent of all doctor's office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints.
- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) declared stress a hazard of the workplace. Stress costs American industry more than $300 billion annually.
- The lifetime prevalence of an emotional disorder is more than 50 percent, often due to chronic, untreated stress reactions.
- While it may be difficult to avoid stress, there are many ways to combat it. One such weapon in your arsenal is the simple act of picking up a book.
- Reading provides a wonderful escape from stress and flexes your mental muscles.
In a 2009 study conducted at the Mindlab International at the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom, research revealed that reading a book works better and faster than other methods to cure stress. Reading slows the heart beat eases muscles tension, the study found, reducing stress levels by 68 percent.
So, the next time you've had a rough day at work or your much-beloved family members are jumping up and down on your last nerve, just take a deep breath, find a quiet corner, curl up with your favorite book and escape the world for a little while.
After all, it's doctor's orders!
Logan Mosby is Content Editor for Writerspace.com.