Did constant stress make Breaking Bad protagonist Walter White (Bryan Cranston) such an unhealthy, moody guy? Chances are pretty good it did, and it may have made him sick in the first place.
Relentless tension packs a pretty tough punch: It affects how developing immune cells are expressed, even before theyre sent out of the bone marrow (thats where theyre manufactured) and into your bloodstream. And whats the expression they adopt? Pro-inflammatory (theyre professionals at revving up trouble). That makes you vulnerable to everything from mood swings and heart disease to autoimmune conditions and even cancer. Plus, stress turns on other pro-inflammatory genes, making it the greatest ager.
But we can help you destress both in the short term and for the long run.
Short-term solutions? Sweat, breathe hard, burn off stress hormones with exercise, walking (10,000 steps a day is the best), sex, you get the idea. Soak in a warm tub with Epsom salts. Relaxing your muscles helps relax the mind. Go for 10 minutes of mindful meditation. Relaxing the mind helps relax the body. Do these stress-busters daily.
Long term? Identify your stress triggers and get help defusing them talk with a therapist, your family or other advisers. Write out options that would help you unwind. Plot a course of action, and act on it. Then plan for fun! Make time for friends, hobbies, a good book and loved ones in your weekly routine.
Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of The Dr. Oz Show, and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.