Many, if not most, of my patients will admit that stress is playing a significant role in their health. Some people tell me there’s only two times when they feel stress: daytime and night-time. Others tell me they get up in the morning and greet their partner with: “Good morning! Let the stress begin!” As this becomes abundantly apparent in our conversation, I will jokingly offer to write them a prescription for “No more stress!” If only it were that simple.
Stress seems to be the plague of our time: it’s unavoidable. From exposure to pollution including noise, heat, and smog, to stress in family relationships, finances, job deadlines, and illness, it’s easy to feel overloaded. Stress reduces our immunity to viruses and to cancer, reduces function of the thyroid as well as testosterone, reduces brain function, interferes with sleep, and increases insulin resistance. It is a leading cause of cardiovascular disease, accidents, substance abuse, and suicide. Stress is not just what happens to us, however; it is how we let it affect us that is important.
Here’s three ways to cope:
- Eliminate the stress.
- Learn how to say no, and stick to your limits.
- Take control of your environment. Turn off the TV, shop online, avoid traffic.
- Avoid hot-button topics of conversation.
- Change your response to the stress.
- Express your feelings, communicate concerns early.
- Be willing to compromise.
- Manage your time better, keeping priorities in line.
- Prepare your body for the stress.
- Eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep.
- Supplement some B Vitamins as well as Vitamin C.
- Take time for fun and relaxation. Do something you enjoy every day.
And don’t forget to laugh! Apparently, it’s good medicine.
Your partner in Living Longer Better,
Dr. Grant M. Pagdin, MD
Live as young as possible, staying energetic and youthful without pain or disease.
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