Chronic Stress: It's the small stuff that gets you!
When talking about stress with patients, I often use an image a supervisor of mine taught me when I was in training. My supervisor described us all as rocks and described the daily, small-but-stressful events we all experience as tiny drops of acid on the rock. One drop of acid will do nothing to the rock but, over time, the persistent drops on the same place on that rock with eventually cause it to crack. So what can you? Stress is unavoidable, right? Right. Which is why stress and, according to this article from NPR, SMALL stressors in particular need to be dealt with before they literally kill you. In keeping with the rock and acid metaphor this means, if we can't avoid the acid, then we need to move our rock around so it doesn't hit in precisely the same spot each time. I find that many people often don't know how to talk about stress and do not have any understanding of the best ways to deal with it. Obviously, therapy is a great way to get a deeper understanding of your own personal stress and coping mechanisms, but the article offers some very simple and effective solutions as well such as exercise, breathing, meditation and laying off the alcohol!