Stress comes in both positive and negative forms. Learning how to cope with both can make a significant impact on your health. BCBSKS disease management nurse Karen Rooney-Cuevas, CCM, CDE, CCP, explains the difference between the two and provides one way to treat them.
Did you know experts estimate that between 75 to 90 percent of all doctor visits are for stress-related illnesses or concerns?
Some of us experience stress with everyday events such as when the neighbor’s dog won’t stop barking at 1 a.m., or that flat tire, or problems at work. Most of us experience stress during life-changing events such as caring for an aging parent, getting a divorce or losing a loved one. Any of these situations can leave us with physical or psychological stress symptoms such as irritability, frustration, anger, muscle tension, headaches, low back pain or even high blood pressure. These symptoms are examples of negative effects caused by distress (aka negative stress). Harmful effects of too much stress can lead to stress-related diseases such as heart disease, chronic pain and insomnia.
There’s also positive stress called eustress. Examples of eustress include getting married, starting a new job, learning a new skill or taking a vacation. These life events can certainly bring us stress but, for the most part, this type of stress has a more positive effect on our day-to-day life.
If we let it, both types of stress can actually help us achieve great things. For instance, successfully coping with everyday stress could serve as a means to motivate achievement, personal growth and self-confidence. Even unsuccessful attempts at coping could facilitate motivation and an opportunity to improve one’s skills.
We each have established habits of how we react to stress as learned behaviors. Many react and try to manage stress by overeating, overspending, smoking or drinking too much alcohol; unfortunately, all of these options will only create more negative stress. Whereas, others react and manage stress in more productive ways by using stress management tools such as relaxation or exercise, and learning to be resilient.
It’s how we react and manage our stress that makes a difference. We can help you adopt a more positive, and effective way to manage stress. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas has a new telephone-based stress management program for members, 18 and older, who have BCBSKS as their primary insurance.
Each element of our program is designed to help you succeed in managing stress in your life.
During routine telephone calls with a registered nurse, your nurse will help you identify your stressors and the current ways you react and manage stress. The nurse also will help you develop techniques to better manage those stressors including sending appropriate literature to help you incorporate your stress action plan into your daily life.
Please note: Our stress management program is designed to help those who are experiencing mild stress. If you are experiencing debilitating anxiety, depression or behavioral health issues, please seek assistance from New Directions Behavioral Health. If you are unsure of what you are experiencing, please take a few moments to complete the free New Directions online behavioral health screening tool.
Karen Rooney-Cuevas, CCM, CDE, CCP, has been a registered nurse for 39 years. She currently helps members who enroll in the company’s disease and wellness management programs. Prior to joining Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas in 1994, her nursing experience included working in psychiatric, emergency, surgical and cardiac fields of nursing.
- American Institute of Stress
- Wellness Council of America, Stop Stress this Minute by James Porter
- Stress Management & Relaxation Activities for Trainers by Robert Epstein