The Women's Journal

Stress Less

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saveway_brenda_pic1By: Brenda Pavlic, CPhT

Life is full of hassles, deadlines, frustrations, and demands.

Stress…it is the human body’s defense mechanism to overcome fear or trauma, avoid danger, or prepare for a threatening situation.  It serves as a resource to deal with perceived attack or unexpected challenges—regardless of whether the threat is psychological or physical.  During stressful situations the hypothalamus is stimulated, chemicals are released, and the ‘fight or flight’ reaction kicks in.  The adrenal glands produce extra cortisol and adrenaline enabling us to go the proverbial extra mile to accomplish what may seem impossible.  Without this defense mechanism we could not survive.

The stress reaction is beneficial in that our mental acuity is sharpened allowing us to make quick decisions and move into immediate action if need be.  It can also make us over-reactive during times when staying calm would be more helpful in dealing with the situation at hand.  Learning to recognize the signals of stress responses can help us utilize the positive effects (heightened awareness, increased mental acuity, the ability to tolerate physical pain) to deal productively with the fear, anxiety, or danger.

The human body does not distinguish between physical stress and psychological stress.  When you are stressed over meeting a deadline, arguing with a loved one, financial worries, or being stuck in traffic when you are already late, your body reacts exactly the same as if you were facing imminent physical harm.  Examples of internal stresses are serious illness, chronic disease, endocrine imbalances, compromised immune system, recovery from injury, and impaired adrenal function.

In small doses stress can help you perform at your best while under pressure but if exposed to stress for a long period of time, the physiologic effects can be quite damaging.  If you have a lot of worries on a daily basis, your stress response may be ‘on’ most of the time so that you may be in emergency mode all the time.  Constant exposure to stress affects nearly every system in the body putting health and longevity at risk.  Your heart pounds faster, muscles tighten, breathing becomes quicker, and your brain ‘goes to work’.  The health risks associated with chronic stress include increased risk of heart attack, stroke, infertility, rapid aging, headaches, insomnia, anxiety / depression, poor immune function, weight gain, and fatigue despite proper sleep.

Each person is unique in their ability to handle stress and how it will affect them.  No two people will react or be affected in exactly the same way if exposed to the same threat.  There is also a gender bias when it comes to stress.  Men and women deal differently with stressful situations.  While males are more likely to respond to an emergency with aggressive action, females are more likely to turn to others for help or try to diffuse the situation.  Females will ‘tend and befriend’ during a crisis where men will define the task, then complete it.  Women will often hold on to a stressful situation long after it has passed while men will let go of it as soon as there is resolution or a solution has been offered.

Understanding the physiologic and psychological effects caused by chronic stress is important in learning to effectively manage stress and/or recover from the damage.  While there are many things in life we have no control over, we can control our reaction to them so that we are not doing further harm.  Recognizing the warning signs when stress levels are out of control is critical.  It is easy for levels to build unnoticeably until the point of overload.

Recovery from chronic stress exposure requires discipline.  Each person has ultimate control over his or her thoughts, emotions, schedule, environment, and approach to dealing with problems.  First define the stressful areas in life then decide if you can change it or how you will allow it to affect you if you can’t.  A good action plan will include getting proper rest (eight hours a night), good nutrition, gentle exercise, and adrenal support through supplementation if needed. Relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation or deep breathing increase your ability to stay calm and collected under pressure if practiced regularly.

For most people in today’s society stress is so commonplace that it has become a way of life. Stress isn’t always bad.  The physical changes our bodies go through speed our reaction time, enhance our focus and increase our strength and stamina.  However, if you find yourself frequently feeling frazzled and overwhelmed, it may be time to take action and get your nervous system back in balance.

For more information, call
Saveway Compounding Pharmacy
at 302-369-5520 or 1-877-225-
8469, or visit them at 31 Albe Drive,
#1, Newark, DE 19702.

Brenda Pavlic is a nationally certified pharmacy technician and co-owner of SaveWay Compounding Pharmacy in Newark, DE.  With more than twenty-five years of pharmacy experience she has furthered her career with extensive training and education in Pharmacy Compounding, Women’s Health, Cosmeceutics, Pain Management, Aseptic and Veterinary Compounding.  She has published articles and presented seminars both locally and nationally to healthcare practitioners.  Her experience and education provide her with skills needed to develop formulations that ease medication administration, improve compliance and ultimately result in positive outcomes for patients.

Compounding Pharmacy
31 Albe Drive; Unit 1
Newark, DE 19702
Ph. (302)369-5520
[email protected]
Hours: M-F 9am—6pm
Sat 10am—2pm
Closed Sunday


You have saved my life and restored normalcy!  Thank you. –BJ

You are a breath of fresh air.  I felt all along my whole system was out of whack and now I am excited to move things forward in a whole body approach. –JF

It is an absolute miracle what you and your company have done for me.  I am pain free for the first time in years. I can’t thank you enough.–BH