Stress: Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions related to stress:

Q: Are some people more vulnerable to stress than others?

A: Yes. Personality type plays a role in reaction to stress. For example, people who drive themselves hard and are impatient (sometimes called Type A personalities) may be more at risk for stress-related physical problems. Certain occupations, such as law enforcement or air traffic control, are clearly more stressful than others. In addition, people with a personal or family history of mental illness may be affected more by stress.

Q: My friend went for a massage and said it really helped her relax. How does it work?

A: More Americans today are turning to massage therapy for natural, drug-free relief from the tension that comes from today’s busy, stressful lifestyles. Massage is the gentle practice of manipulating the body’s tissues in order to soothe and heal. It provides a way to release physical and mental tension. A number of research studies have shown that massage reduces heart rate, lowers blood pressure, increases blood circulation and lymph flow, relaxes muscles, improves range of motion, and increases the production of endorphins, which are the body’s own natural painkillers.

Q: Lately my husband has been under a lot of pressure at work. When he gets home, he’s been drinking quite a bit, more than usual. Should I be concerned?

A: Some people use alcohol as a way of “switching off” the stress in their lives. But drinking does not address the underlying problem. Many addictions are linked to a stressful lifestyle, such as overeating, smoking, drinking, and drug abuse. One or two drinks a day, such as a glass of wine or beer with dinner, is usually not harmful. If your husband is regularly drinking more than that, he should cut down – and if that is hard to do, get some help.

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