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Under Pressure

May 13, 2014, 6:30 PM by Casey Wonnenberg

Under Pressure

Who doesn't seem to have stress in their life? While stressful situations are common, if you worry too much, it could hurt your health.

From meetings and mingling to making decisions that affect hundreds of people, Avera McKennan President and CEO Dr. Dave Kapaska has plenty on his plate.

"My schedule looks busier than it ever has in my life," Kapaska said.

Kapaska admits he regularly works 14 to 16 hour days, but he tries his best to never get too stressed.

"All things start to become more clear. You can really evaluate the situation around you and know what's really happening rather than the, 'Oh my God,' response most of us have or feel initially," Kapaska said.

Stress can do more than just impact your decisions.

"Up to 90 percent of doctors visits can be related to stress and stress impacts," Avera Outpatient Therapist Pat Lindemann said.

In fact, stress can play a role in high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and heart disease. It can also take a toll on your relationships and mental health.

Lindemann says while some stress is healthy, you should watch out for these warning signs: headaches, muscle tightness between your shoulder blades and extreme fatigue.

"It can mimic depression. A lot of times people will come into me and say, 'I think I'm clinically depressed,'" Lindemann said.

When you notice you are getting stressed, Lindemann says look at something that makes you happy, like a picture of your family.

"For me it's my granddaughter's laughter; it's warm bread," Lindemann said.

Lindemann also says healthy eating, exercising and deep breathing techniques help. Also, don't spend too much time worrying about things you can't control.

"If you think of the most stressful thing you have in your life right now, I would almost guarantee you 100 percent that it's something you have very little control over, so when we're looking at those things, we want to assess what we do control and what we do not control," Lindemann said.

Kapaska says his life experiences, especially being a pilot in the Air Force, have helped him learn to deal with stress.

"I go back to my flying days, and the first emergency response to any emergency was maintain aircraft control," Kapaska said.

Which he says helps him in his personal and professional life.

"If you can keep track of what it is you need to do next and just relax a bit and know the world is not going to come to an end based on my next decision," Kapaska said.

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