Straight Talk About Prolonged Stress


Honolulu (KHON2) – In our latest Straight Talk, we looked at prolonged exposure to stressful situations that can take a toll if not addressed. 

“Given the current state of the world, society, our State and our community, many people are experiencing physical, mental and emotional reactions to prolonged exposure to strange and stressful situations,” explains Ho’okō LLC President/Co-Founder Rhesa Kaulia. “This includes headaches;  sleep problems like insomnia or fitful rest, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome; digestive problems; unintentional weight gain or loss; memory and concentration problems. People are also having trauma responses, including fight or flight syndrome, anxiety, depression, feeling attacked, lack of motivation, grief and hopeless, and feeling out-of-control.”

Ho’okō LLC Vice President/Co-Founder Edwina Reyes shares statistics, saying “According to Harvard School of Public Health, 65% of people report sleep issues due to stress.  Additionally, of those who suffered a major stressful event , 43% of them report that it was health-related.  A study by Eastern Kentucky University found that of those who work, 77% of experience physical symptoms of stress and 73% feel psychological stress.  Finally, according to the American Psychological Association, millennials have the highest stress levels (5.7 out of 10) and adults older than 72 have the lowest stress levels (3.3 out of 10).”

Signs include burnout or compassion fatigue if you are a first-responder, essential workers or caregiver; an increase in irritability and anger; changes in appetite; an increase or start of addictive behaviors (e.g., drinking, smoking, gambling, shopping); a sense of detachment from loved ones; chronic pain; feelings of hopelessness, despair, loss, grief, or even feeling out-of-control.

So what should you do?

Kaulia says, “First and foremost, seek perspective. Remind yourself that change does not have to be bad.  Identify the things that you do still have control of, like having options, however little they may be.  Options move us from being a victim to a victor or to someone who can be empowered to roll with life’s punches.  Look at making lifestyle changes.  Develop an attitude of gratitude and count your blessings.  Focus on ways to soothe yourself, like exercise, practice relaxation (yoga, listen to music, deep abdominal breathing), prayer and meditation, or journaling.”

Contact a professional to explore your prolonged exposure to strange and stressful situations. Ho’okō LLC Counseling Center also provides services for these types of situations.  Often people don’t realize that counseling services are covered by most major health insurances.  If you have questions or would like to schedule an appointment, contact 808-375-7712 or visit online at

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