How common is insomnia? ~ Kendrick

Kendrick, Many studies show almost two thirds of adults (62 percent) experienced insomnia in the last year. One third of adults say they get fewer than 6.5 hours of sleep each night. Eighty-five percent of insomniacs never seek medical treatment. Millions of insomniacs have turned to over-the-counter night time sleep aids, creating $100 million-a-year business. They have spent an additional $200 million on melatonin, a sleep-enhancing herb.

What is shame? ~ Callie

Callie,Shame is when we feel flawed. Shame is toxic and is like living with an invisible cloud over our hearts. Shame usually had its genesis in our childhood with issues concerning our original families. Shame is difficult to sort out alone, and I continue to find it sad that so many of us have spent our life plagued with shame. Shame is astumbling block to experiencing true happiness. Toxic shame can lead to depression, and your body may literally shut down.

How does stress weaken the immune system? ~ Grayson

Grayson, Sheldon Cohen, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the Carnegie Mellon University, gave 400 people a questionnaire designed to quantify the amount of stress they were under. He then exposed them to nose drops containing cold viruses. Ninety percent of the stressed subjects caught a cold. They had elevated levels of corticotrophin releasing factor, which interferes with the immune system.

What are the factors at your job that can lead to chronic stress? ~ Carter

Carter, The phrase "work-life balance" has emerged in reaction to the unhealthy choices that many of us are making in favor of the workplace, as we opt to neglect family, friends, and leisure activities in the pursuit of corporate goals. The cost to corporations and businesses when workers are unhappy and overstressed in enormous, estimated at over $300 billion annually. The cost of depression, loss of productivity, and missed work days has an annual estimated value of over $600 per full time employee. In some surveys, 30 percent of workers felt their health was suffering because of their work, and over 40 percent of managers believe the quality of their working life has deteriorated over the past three years. Worker turnover and the costs of replacing and or retraining employees have never been higher. The attitude of workers and the morale within companies are at an all-time low. The costs of chronic stress are harming our families, our corporate institutions, and the government.

How does my body react to stress response? ~ Luke

Luke, When we are stressed, we release excitatory neurotransmitters. Your body responds to these hormones by increasing your heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration. More blood is pumped into your muscles, sending more oxygen to your muscles, brain, heart and lungs. Blood flow may increase 300 percent to 400 percent, preparing your lungs, muscles, and brain for added demands. The amount of sugar of glucose increases in your blood, which accelerates your metabolism so you can take immediate action in an emergency. Your blood thickens as platelets prepare to stop bleeding quickly. As the blood thickens, oxygen increases in red cells and promotes better function of the white cells that prevent infections. The spleen discharges red and white blood cells, allowing the blood to transport more oxygen.

What are some positive aspects of stress? ~ Sophia

Sophia, If you want to experience living an intentional life of true happiness you can't run from stress or avoid it. Stress is as much a part of life as breathing, eating, and drinking water. Stress is a constant in our lives. There is a reason for stress. Stress discovers our dark places and brings them to our attention. Each stressor that we perceive as an obstacle is actually an opportunity.Stress is your guide and can be quite a gift. Observe what stresses you. Try to embrace your stress and be compassionate with yourself. Stress is our teacher; you can run for a while, but it will find a way to get your attention. It will surface in your psychological or spiritual well-being at first and eventually wreak havoc in your physical body. Your wondrous potential wants to be expressed in your life and anything that is holding your gift back will create the stress to let you know about it. Stress invites you to make new choices in your life and these choices require action. As you learn to deal with the stresses of your life, your incredible potential will unfold, leading you deeper on the path to true happiness.

How can I reduce stress in my life? ~ Jennifer

Jennifer, The first thing to do is become aware of what your stressors are. Each of us is different and we can have very different stress triggers. Your stress response is partly inherited and also is affected by your environment. I use a simple acronym called A.C.E.A is for awareness. Get a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle of the paper. Put a plus on one side of the paper and a minus sign on the other side. On the minus side write down the things that trigger your stress. Maybe your commute, cooking dinner, your job or a personal relationship is stressing you. On the plus side write down the things in your life that you love that give you energy and love. This could be dinner with your family, reading a book, taking a bath or doing a project at work. Do this for about a week and you will begin to see your stress triggers and what you love that you may not be doing enough of.C is for choice. As you see your triggers you can begin to make choices of whether you will continue with these experiences or not. If you continue with stressful events, you need to learn stress reduction techniques.E is for the energy that you will experience once you begin to discover the sources of stress in your life. Finally, it is essential to learn stress reduction practices.

When should I see a therapist to help me deal with stress? ~ Brittani

Brittani, When your physical, emotional or relational symptoms become out of control and are causing suffering to you and/or to those you love. If your stress is not relieved after one month consult a therapist to get an evaluation and guidance.