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What's the Problem with Stress?

We live in stressful times. The economy is tough, global conflicts rage, severe weather events are affecting people in every corner of the globe, and our numerous technological devices don't seem to be making things any easier. Of course, this is nothing new. Every generation thinks theirs is the best of times and the worst of times. But the result is that people everywhere have high levels of stress.

Sometimes stress is a good thing. Mechanical stress, such as exercise, causes your muscles and bones to become stronger and your nerve system to become smarter. Taking on a new assignment at work or taking a challenging class in school may be stressful, but the effort involved in achieving a successful result will cause you to grow and develop in ways that you might not have imagined. After all, the great philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche famously said "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger."

But chronic, ongoing physical and mental stress, the kind that affects us every day, is not good for us. Chronic stress causes real psychological and physical problems. People undergoing chronic stress may develop anxiety, which if not managed effectively may lead to depression. Chronic stress may lead to a variety of disorders and diseases, including arthritis, inflammatory conditions such as Crohn's disease, gastrointestinal problems such as peptic ulcer, diabetes,1 high blood pressure,2 and even heart attacks and stroke.3 As we are all subject to numerous stresses every day, both personal and work-related, it's very important for us to develop strategies that will be successful in helping us manage ongoing stresses.

The most important method for managing stress is to attempt to focus your point-of-view, your frame of reference, on the present moment. Our minds are constantly in motion, constantly at work creating new thoughts and new scenarios regarding some potentially stressful situation, or rehashing old conversations, old conflicts, and old problems. The result is that we're almost never at peace. When we try to sit down and relax for a bit, it's never too long before our minds start bringing up the exact things we'd like to be able to forget or ignore, at least for a little while. Most of us can't flip a metaphorical switch and shut off our incessant stream of mostly negative self-talk. But we can learn to remind ourselves to return to the present, to come back to this moment, the one that's happening now.
The best way to do this is to ask yourself, "is this [what I'm thinking about] happening right now?" If you can see that what's happening now is that you're sitting in a chair reading the newspaper, you have a good chance of being able to let go of what your mind is talking to you about. Say to yourself, "I'm right here, right now, and none of that other stuff is actually happening right now." This will help you create some distance from your self-talk, and the self-talk may even recede into the background for a while. The feeling of calm you might then experience is one you can build on. The more you practice returning to the moment, the more power you gain in being able to manage the stress in your life.
1Bener A, et al: Association between psychological distress and gastrointestinal symptoms in diabetes mellitus. World J Diabetes 3(6):123-129, 2012
2van Dijk, AE, et al: The association between prenatal psychosocial stress and blood pressure in the child at age 5-7 years. PLoS One 7(8):e43548, 2012
3Pereira VH, et al: Stressed brain, diseased heart: A review on the pathophysiologic mechanisms of neurocardiology. Int J Cardiol 2012 Apr 20 [Epub ahead of print]

Multicare Health Clinic

3930 STADIUM DR
SIOUX CITY, IA 51106
Phone Number: (712) 276-4325

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Monday:

8:30 am-6:30 pm

Tuesday:

8:30 am-6:30 pm

Wednesday:

8:30 am-6:30 pm

Thursday:

8:30 am-6:30 pm

Friday:

8:30 am-2:00 pm

Saturday:

Closed

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Testimonials

  • "I leave here feeling confident that I have the resources to manage my pain and live normally, and that's priceless."
    Alycen V.
  • "After my consultatin with the doctors at Multicare Health Clinic, I understand how to address my balance issues."
    Anna A.
  • "At night my right hand would go painfully numb at least 2-3 times where I could not sleep. Now, I don't have that pain and can get a full night sleep."
    Janet D.
  • "Not only is my pain level down to zero, but what I'm really thrilled with, is that I have normal feeling in my hands."
    Jill L.
  • "I wasn't able to use my hand the way I should. After working with Dr. Sneller and the physical therapy team, I can use my hand again."
    Henry H.
  • "After my knee surgery I was asked where I wanted to do my physical therapy, I chose Multicare Health Clinic and I'm so glad I did! Dr. Steve and the therapy assistants (Sara and Megan) are fabulous! They know what they're doing and they all really seemed to care about my recovery. I'm feeling fantastic! I'll definitely go back again whenever I need therapy or adjustments."
    Sheri J.
  • "My company encouraged all of us employees to get screened at Multicare. I didn't know what to expect. It was easy and I learned so much. The orthotics they prescribed really help me to feel more stable and confident at work."
    Jim J.
  • "There couldn't be a better physical therapy team in Siouxland! Not only did my knee feel so much better after six weeks, but I feel like I made new friends."
    Karla K.
  • "My shoulder and neck feel so much better. I now have the knowledge, motivation, desire and tools to keep up the exercises."
    Barb B.
  • "Being able to present my back pain to three different professions in one place and knowing that they are working together to make me better is very comforting."
    Charlie P.
  • "I'm a runner. When I wasn't able to run due to leg problems, I was devastated. But a consultation at Multicare Health Clinic identified the problem and after some adjustments, stimulation treatments and therapy, I'm running again!"
    Lisa L.
  • "I'm now a believer now! I didn't think chiropractic could help my foot problems. But after meeting with Dr. Pistello and Dr. Dave for a few weeks, I'm feeling so much better!"
    Gino G.
  • "I wasn't able to use my hand the way I should. After working with Dr. Sneller and the physical therapy team, I can use my hand again."
    Ivy I.
  • "I'm so glad my sister referred me to Multicare! My elbow hasn't felt this good in a long time. Thanks to the great physical therapy team there."
    Ellen E.
  • "After an accident at work I didn't think I'd ever get relief from my aching shoulder. But, the doctors at Multicare gave me adjustments and physical therapy and now I feel normal again."
    Cliff C.
  • "Dr. Sneller helped. I haven't been feeling dizzy anymore."
    Belinda B
  • "I now can go a full week without pain and headaches."
    Luke W.