Stress affects our brains and our bodies.

News headlines affect people differently. Some ignore them. Others panic. Stress is our reaction, mental and emotional, to tensions, changes, or challenges from people and events around us. Stress from news headlines affects our health

It is what we decide to accept and keep close to our hearts that can cause physical and mental harm to our bodies. Recognize stress for what it is – a temporary distraction of your life. Good stress motivates us. It sharpens our minds and reflexes.

Stress can be acute, the most common form – a news headline or television broadcast. It is the length of time we are exposed that determines its effect on us. All of us have suffered from acute stress at different times in our lives. Let it GO! is the best medicine.

Episodic acute stress occurs frequently. It is what we are seeing daily on our cell phones, newspapers, magazines, articles, television broadcasts, etc. There is a pattern that reinforces itself nearly daily. This recurring stress is not good for us.

Chronic acute stress is relentless – never-ending. You feel swamped and cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel. This type of stress affects our health. It also requires effective DIY help or reaching out to others for help.

Stress can be caused by financial issues, relationships, personal health, and many more things. In the COVID-19 pandemic world, it is the daily onslaught of doom and gloom that appears to get worse with each day.

I responded to a post today about someone thinking that thousands of people in his state were going to die in the next two weeks because they had only 100 ICU beds left in the whole state. Only 1,500 or so people have died since early March in his state and the weekly average at its height was just over 30 and within the past two weeks, it fluctuated less than a dozen deaths a day.

The headline of 100 ICU beds left (I did not see the local headline that he referred to – just his announcement of it) caused panic in his thinking process and his subsequent reaction. Stress is with us daily. It is not what happens to us, but what we do with it.

There are lots of physical symptoms of stress – irregular bowel movements, involuntary twitching or shaking, reduced libido, chest pains, headaches, nausea, muscle aches, trouble sleeping, heartburn, indigestion, flushed skin, clenched teeth, changes of weight, and more.

Emotional stress symptoms include – impatience, sadness, depression, feeling overwhelmed, restlessness, irritability, sense of isolation, trouble coping, more frequent pessimism, and more.

Stress affects our ability to think. Common cognitive symptoms include – impaired concentration, trouble remembering, chronic worrying, anxious feelings more often, impaired judgment, impaired speech, unwanted thoughts, and more.

Stress causes changes in our behavior, such as – changes in eating habits, changes in sleeping habits, increased alcohol, tobacco, or drug use, nail-biting, pacing, unusual desire for isolation, trouble getting along with others, and more.

The media gets paid to make you insecure, feel pain, feel hopeless, panic, or fear everything around you. What you are not seeing is the rest of the story that should have been part of what was reported. Daily records of new COVID-19 cases do not equal daily records of hospitalization or daily records of daily deaths.

There is no proportionality between the new daily COVID-19 positive cases and the number of daily hospitalizations or daily deaths. Yes, hospitals in some areas are at the warning level that actions must happen.

We were instructed to hunker down for the duration so that hospitals could react properly to the influx of new COVID-19 patients. It worked! We gave up our social and business lives so that hospitals would not become overwhelmed and not able to keep up with the pace of new arrivals.

It does not matter when your state allows you to go to a bar – now or four months from now. People will get infected. People will get hospitalized, People will die. How do states assess the risk to the health of their citizens? When is it safe to go back into the water? The great white shark (COVID-19) is swimming in our favorite watering holes.

The sooner Americans achieve a high level of herd immunity, the sooner the public can frolic without fear and panic of getting the virus. Yes, mutations occur. The virus can become stronger or weaker. None of us had any innate immunity to this virus. Many of us do now. When most of us do, then the virus is less likely to claim the same death rate as it has in the past.

The most vulnerable must be protected, no matter what! We do not want grandma’s death on our conscious. Listen and watch what is happening in the daily news. Is it correct? Most likely! Is it the whole and true picture? Most likely not!

Recognize stress and take action to reduce or eliminate it. I can write another thousand words about stress reduction and management. When in doubt, smile, take a deep breath, walk around the block (if legal in your state), turn off the cell phone or television, talk to a friend and vent, rant in an empty closet, and go onto YouTube and try many breathing and other options to manage and reduce stress in your life.

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin –


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