Introduction: Extinguishing Stress Course

It seems like you hear it all the time from nearly every one you know – “I’m SO stressed out!”
Pressures abound in this world today. Those pressures cause stress and anxiety, and often we
are ill-equipped to deal with those stressors that trigger anxiety and other feelings that can
make us sick. Literally, sick.

The statistics are staggering. One in every eight Americans age 18-54 suffers from an anxiety
disorder. This totals over 19 million people! Research conducted by the National Institute of
Mental Health has shown that anxiety disorders are the number one mental health problem
among American women and are second only to alcohol and drug abuse by men.

Women suffer from anxiety and stress almost twice as much as men. Anxiety disorders are the
most common mental illness in America, surpassing even depression in numbers. Anxiety is the
most common mental health issue facing adults over 65 years of age. Anxiety disorders cost the

U.S. $46.6 billion annually. Anxiety sufferers see an average of five doctors before being
successfully diagnosed.
Unfortunately, stress and anxiety go hand in hand. In fact, one of the major symptoms of stress
is anxiety. And stress accounts for 80 percent of all illnesses either directly or indirectly.

In fact, stress is more dangerous than we thought. You've probably heard that it can raise your
blood pressure, increasing the likelihood of a stroke in the distant future, but recently a health
insurance brochure claimed that 90 percent of visits to a primary care physician were stress-
related disorders.

Health Psychology magazine reports that chronic stress can interfere with the normal function
of the body's immune system. And studies have proven that stressed individuals have an
increased vulnerability to catching an illness and are more susceptible to allergic, autoimmune,
or cardiovascular diseases.

Doctors agree that during chronic stress, the functions of the body that are nonessential to
survival, such as the digestive and immune systems, shut down. "This is why people get sick," he
says. "There are also many occurrences of psychosomatic illness, an illness with an emotional or
psychological side to it."

Furthermore, stress often prompts people to respond in unhealthy ways such as smoking,
drinking alcohol, eating poorly, or becoming physically inactive. This damages the body in
addition to the wear and tear of the stress itself.

Stress is a part of daily life. It’s how we react to it that makes all the difference in maintaining
our health and well-being. Pressures occur throughout life and those pressures cause stress.
You need to realize that you will never completely get rid of stress in your life, but you can learn
coping techniques to turn that stress into a healthier situation.

When I first got the assignment to write this book, I immediately thought, “Sure, you can
eliminate stress and anxiety by locking yourself into a room and never talking to anyone ever
again”. But that wouldn’t make a very informative book, now would it?

I have suffered from anxiety disorders caused by stress for years. I have learned somewhat how
to cope with that although I’m always learning new things and dealing mechanisms. So what
I’ve done in this book is taken some of my own experiences and combined them with advice
from experts to give you tools that will help you in stressful situations.

I’ve also outlined different ways you can face debilitating anxiety and panic attacks that many
people suffer from. While researching this book, I’ve come across some amazing information
and can’t wait to share it with you. I’ve learned so much myself, so let’s look at how to
eliminate stress and anxiety from your life!

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