How to tell if you're addicted to stress

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by Cathy Marshall

KGW

Posted on February 7, 2013 at 11:50 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 8 at 12:01 AM

You hear the word addiction and you probably think drugs or alcohol, but some doctors add stress to the list.

Demands that come with jobs, family and finances can reach dangerous levels. How do you tell if you’re addicted?

Look at these three questions:

  • Do you tune out normal conversation and think about other things?
  • Are you rushed with one task because you’re thinking about the next?
  • Are you worried or nervous when there’s nothing to do right now?

If you answered yes to any of the three you could be addicted to stress, according to the author of “Addicted to Stress: A Woman’s 7 Step Program to Reclaim Joy."

Providence Naturopath Dr. Ken Weizer explained the addiction is based on what happens physically.

“When we’re stressed, our bodies release adrenaline. It’s putting us in fight or flight mode,” Weizer said.

Portland State Professor Kim Brown said high stress has caused her physical symptoms.

“I had a tightness in my abdomen. It was a permanent pain,” said Brown.

She turned to Dr. Weizer for help when she faced the greatest stress of her life, a diagnosis of cancer.

“I’m trying to live differently now,” she said.

Weizer’s prescription for over stressed patients begins with something that seems too simple to believe.

“The easiest yoga, the easiest way to get present is just to walk, and I recommend 10,000 steps or five miles a day.”

Kim wears a pedometer to keep track of her steps.

“I really did see a difference around five miles,” she remarked.

Kim also posts reminders about what’s important near her desk and on her office door.

One reads “there is no luminal space if you are present.”

Another important part of slowing down is relying on the support of family and friends.

“People are the most stressed out about being loved and listened to. This is the number one complaint. You need to introduce peace in mind and peace in body,” said Weizer.

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