Psychological Self-Help

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hormones flow, the heart beats faster, we breathe harder, we sweat,
our senses are more alert, we are ready for protective action--running
or attacking. One can see how this reaction surely helped our species
survive for millions of years in the wild. But as we experience this
defense today in the form of fear, anxiety, panic, anger, sadness, etc.,
we lose some of our mental alertness and organization. So a
frightened speaker, being more prepared to run than talk, loses
his/her train of thought or stumbles over his words. The nervous
worker being watched by his/her supervisor fumbles with his tools. 
If the stress continues, our body enters the second stage, called
resistance. Our body must stop being in a state of alarm; our body
can't take it. So, the body attempts to adjust to the stress. We calm
down a little, but the body is still working overtime; we may become
more accustomed to being stressed but our concentration and
decisions continue to be poor. 
If the stress is very long-lasting (days, weeks, and months), our
resistance is further worn down and our bodies become exhausted in
the third stage. We don't have the energy to continue the adaptation
to the stress. The body gives up--parts may have been damaged,
particularly the heart, kidneys, and stomach. We may die. Voodoo
deaths may occur this way. Commonly, psychosomatic disorders
(psychologically caused physical disorders) occur: fatigue, hysteria,
aches and pains, high blood pressure, skin rashes, etc. Often we have
trouble getting along with others. Mentally we may experience
hopelessness, exhaustion, confusion or perhaps a serious mental
Prolonged stress is a very serious matter.
The mystery of the long-term effects of intense stress
A cluster of research findings demonstrate the incredible
consequences of childhood traumas (sometimes, not always). It has
long been known that people who lost a parent during childhood were
more prone to depression as adults. The 5 and 10-year harmful effects
of divorce on the children has been well substantiated, and the
"sleeper effects" of divorce (such as a fear of intimacy) may occur 10
or 15 years later (see discussion in chapter 10). Children, who's
parents divorced, even die 4 to 6 years before children who haven't
gone through a divorce. That's incredible. Soldiers who were prisoners
of war were 8 times more likely to have had a stroke 50 years later
than buddies who were not prisoners. Women who were sexually
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