How Stressed Are You?
A 2010 report conducted by Statistics Canada revealed that over 1 in 4 Canadians described their lives as highly stressful, with 62% identifying work as their main source of stress. Interestingly, the highly stressed workers who identified their job or workplace as their main source of stress were well-educated—almost three-quarters had a college or university education—and over one-half held white-collar jobs in management, professional or technical occupations.
How stressed are you? Let’s find out!
Highly Stressed Canadians
Work as Main Source of Stress
The Perceived Stress Scale (PSS)
The Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) is the most widely used psychological instrument for measuring the perception of stress. The responses are not based solely on the intensity or inherent quality of a stressful event, but also dependent on personal and contextual factors.
Higher Perceived Stress Scale Scores are associated with higher levels of stress and indicate a greater likelihood for stress interfering with things like lifestyle changes (for example, a person’s efforts to quit smoking) and their ability to improve their shape. Higher scores are associated with an increase in a person’s vulnerability to compromised health, especially if a big life stress (loss of a job, end of a relationship, death of a loved one, etc.) occurs in the near future. Higher scores are also associated with increased susceptibility to stress-induced illness.
Calculate Your Perceived Stress Scale Score
How Naturopathic Medicine Can Help
The treatment of stress encompasses a multi-factorial approach that addresses your body’s physiological imbalances (i.e., elevated cortisol), while providing long-term solutions to help you manage and cope with your daily stressors in a healthy manner. Some of the therapies that I use include:
Clinical Nutrition and Herbal Supplementation
Nutritional and herbal supplementation is the foundation of the early treatment of stress. Proper nutrition ensures that you are fueling your body with the resources to maintain sufficient immune system health and overall function. Supplementation with B-vitamins, for example, are helpful because they are critical for energy production and are important co-factors in the production of stress hormones, as well as other brain neurotransmitters including serotonin, dopamine, and epinephrine. The use of herbal adaptogens are also beneficial, as they help increase the body’s resistance and vitality, while reducing the stress reactions that occur during a stress response.
Acupuncture has a remarkably calming effect on the body, and can be helpful for people who have trouble sleeping. By inserting thin needles into specific areas, acupuncture can reduce tension of muscles and promote a state of relaxation. In a recent Cochrane Review of 11 different research trials, for example, the authors concluded that acupuncture could be a valuable non-pharmacological tool in patients with frequent episodic or chronic tension-type headaches.
Adapting behavioral changes of how you cope with stress is paramount for your overall health and well-being. Recognizing chronic stressors, working on self-development, improving sleep hygiene, and exercise are all important factors that contribute to the long-term management of stress.
Book your appointment today for a personalized treatment program to manage your stress and optimize your health.
Cohen S, Kamarck T, Mermelstein R (1983). A Global Measure of Perceived Stress. Journal of Health and Social Behaviour 24(4): 385-396.
Cohen, S., & Williamson, G. (1988). Perceived stress in a probability sample of the United States. In S. Spacapam & S. Oskamp (Eds.), The social psychology of health: Claremont Symposium on applied social psychology. Newbury Park, CA: Sage
Linde K, Allais G, Brinkhaus B, Manheimer E, Vickers A, White AR. Acupuncture for tension-type headache. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2009, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD007587. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD007587