Stress on Your Mind? Cut It in 5

Focused on Health – August 2010

by Laura Nathan-Garner

Money. Family. Work. Health issues. Sometimes it can seem hard to find a reason not to feel stressed.

But here’s a good reason to unwind: Chronic stress affects almost every system in our bodies and wreaks havoc on their functioning,  says Lorenzo Cohen, Ph.D., professor and director of integrative medicine at MD Anderson. It weakens the immune system, affects tumor development and makes it harder for your body to remain healthy.

And that’s not all. Chronic stress ups your risk for heart disease, sleep difficulties, digestive problems and depression. It also makes you more likely to ditch healthy eating and exercise habits that help prevent cancer and other diseases.

Some factors that cause stress can’t be controlled, but for things you can control, find ways to avoid them or balance them with stress-reducing activities, Cohen says. And, for stressors in your life you can’t control, you’ve got to focus on yourself and make time to do things you enjoy.

Click here for strategies for stress management.