The Hidden Secret to Handling Stress

Contributing Writer
Jeffrey Barkstrom, LAC

Stress seems to affect everyone. Our lives are getting busier every day. A recent study estimated that three out of four doctor visits are stress related ailments. One of the chief complaints I here every day is, “I am so stressed. What can I do about it? Are there easy ways to get my life back under control?”

In recent polls, 44 percent of Americans report that their stress level is increasing every year. The majority of the people polled said they are suffering from moderate to high levels of stress. One in five report extreme amounts of stress. Forty percent of people stress eat. Your chance of heart disease increases by 40 percent and your chance of stroke increases by 50 percent with high stress levels. Life seems to be increasing in speed and our time for ourselves decreasing.

What I see in my own practice, once people start eating right and are more nutritionally balanced, they can handle more situations with less stress and more joy. I recently had a patient tell me that her business was six times busier this year and she strangely felt unstressed about it. She said that last year at this time she was a mess. The only thing she has changed was her nutrition.

This stands in contrast to what we normally due when under stress. “I deserve this cookie. I have so much going on. Nobody understands my stress.” Unfortunately, that cookie effects our blood sugar, which effects our hormones and puts us on to a sugar induced emotional coaster ride adding to our stress. The sugar induced gyrations of emotions can last as long as two weeks without any added cookies or sweets.

So the secret to handling stress? Have a piece of celery (also been shown to reduce blood pressure) and avoid the sweet treats. Your body and mind will thank you.


Jeffrey Barkstrom has been helping people with health and weight loss issues for more than 12 years. He has spoken at colleges, businesses, non-profits, national conferences and on television about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. He currently practices at Barkstrom Acupuncture PC, Natural Health Improvement Center in Jamestown, NY. Learn more at or at