Contracting a disease.
Losing a job.
Having a bad credit rating.
Coping with family problems.
Not being able to afford the medical care you need.
Life’s biggest challenges often are centered around your physical and fiscal health -- and those two issues have profound effects on one another. Money worries can torpedo your health, social relationships, happiness and longevity. Health problems may make it impossible to work and can quickly drain your bank account. That’s why we are so committed to helping you reduce your stress response to both physical and financial problems by offering sure-fire ways to upgrade your health and your wallet!
You know that stress -- whether physical, psychological or financial -- can be a pain in the neck (literally); gives you chronic headaches, lower-back pain, insomnia and depression; contributes to interpersonal conflicts; derails your sex life; fuels obesity; upsets your digestive system; taxes your heart; and triggers abuse of alcohol or drugs. There’s almost no one who hasn’t had to deal with one of those life-damaging repercussions of stress at one time or another.
But research shows that chronically elevated levels of stress hormones (epinephrine and cortisol) contribute to a far wider range of health problems than you might suspect.
▪ Macular degeneration (a leading cause of vision loss in older folks) is an inflammatory disease, and research indicates that inflammation-triggering chronic stress may worsen the condition.
▪ Stress worsens upper respiratory illness and increases susceptibility to colds.
▪ Chronic stress shortens the dendrites (pathways for sending information and making memory connections) that are on the ends of brain neurons. That reduces your brain’s ability to process information and store new memories.
▪ Chronic stress promotes development of age-related diseases and can makes your RealAge up to 32 years older, by shortening your telomeres, the ends of your DNA strands.
You have the ability to turn off the stress spigot! How? By understanding how worries about health and wealth intersect, and taking steps to make choices that will upgrade both. In short, by following the simple steps below, you’ll be keeping your body young and your finances secure enough to go the distance. A wonderful one-two stress buster for sure!
All the info you need is in Dr. Mike’s new book, “Age-Proof: Living Longer Without Running Out of Money or Breaking a Hip,” written with “Today” show financial editor Jean Chatzky and with a foreword by Dr. Oz.
The stress spigot
1. Assess where you stand. Get a thorough physical and financial checkup from trusted experts. Knowing the bottom line lets you set realistic goals and start to move forward.
2. Budget your finances and your calories. Take time to write out a very specific plan for your week’s food intake and cash outflow. (Talk with a nutritionist and a financial planner for guidance.)
3. Erase mistakes. Even if you’re in bad shape physically or financially, it’s never too late to make improvements. Adopting small changes (give up all sugary beverages; lose just 5 percent of your body weight; lock away 10 percent of every paycheck; eliminate frivolous, impulse spending) will help you see results.
4. Create strong environments at work and at home to make these dual goals easier. You can do that by letting family and colleagues know of your commitment to improved health both physically and financially. And make sure that at home and at work you stick with your new, good habits: that means less screen time, more time movin’ around and eating healthfully, as well as saying “no” to excessive work hours and finding collaborators to team up with.
5. Speaking of teaming up, build strong teams: One of the biggest mistakes people make in both areas is trying to go at it alone. Having the proper team around you (including family and professionals) is key to helping you achieve optimum levels in health and wealth.
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. Visit www.sharecare.com.