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Summer 2009


Botsford HealthSource Magazine

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Stressed? Take Steps to Stay Healthy

Concerns over finances and job security have made many Michiganians prime targets for stress.

A small amount of stress can have positive effects. It can be an effective motivator, for example. “But, prolonged stress could not only make you feel bad, it could literally make you sick,” says Hampton Mansion, D.O., a family medicine physician at Botsford Hospital. “Stress raises blood pressure and floods your system with hormones that magnify the risk for heart disease and other serious illnesses.”

Even if you’re not naturally calm, you can still reduce the many ill effects of stress. How?

  1. Exercise regularly. Aerobic exercise reduces stress hormones, improves mood, boosts fitness and regulates weight.

  2. Eat well and include plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet. Cut back on alcohol and caffeine.

  3. Get enough sleep. Fatigue magnifies stress.

  4. Cultivate enjoyable personal activities.

  5. Ask friends and relatives for needed support in difficult times and to be your partner in fun times, too.

  6. Accentuate the positive, and minimize the negative. “For starters, replace critical, negative thoughts, such as ‘I should never have done that,’ with more realistic, positive messages, such as ‘I’ll try to do things differently next time,’” advises Dr. Mansion.

    Dealing with pressure-filled situations isn’t easy. Dr. Mansion says, “If you’re feeling so stressed that it’s becoming hard to keep up with everyday activities, talk with your doctor or a mental health professional.”

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services offers an online tip sheet, “Getting through tough economic times,” at www.samhsa.gov/economy.

 

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