Recognizing the Signs of Stress

Katie Couric
Global Anchor
Katie's Take

Katie's Take

Stress is an inevitable part of everyone's life and while many of us just grin and bear it, there is, in fact, a science behind stress …and, believe it or not, we actually need small doses of it to function.

I spoke to Cindy Ackrill, who is from the American Institute of Stress and also the President of Wellspark, to learn more about stress.

According to Cindy, stress is defined as our reaction to a perceived threat. Of course, each person has their own unique set of stress triggers, so it can mean very many different things to different people.

People today seem to be more stressed than ever before, which Cindy attributes to the financial crisis, unhealthy lifestyle choices, a general disconnect from others and even lack of sleep.

Although we need a little stress to motivate us in our day to day activities, excessive amounts can be dangerous and have harsh effects on the body. Common symptoms of stress include headaches, stomachaches and fatigue. In more extreme cases, stress has been known to contribute to strokes, heart disease and even cancer.

It can also take a toll on relationships.

Cindy says managing stress is really all about managing our physical, mental and emotional energy. There are professionals who specialize in helping people deal with stress, but getting enough sleep, some exercise and even deep breaths are a great start!