New Haven Register (New Haven, CT)

How to cultivate good stress

- Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Michael Roizen

Stress that turns to chronic distress, well, clearly that’s negative, harming your physical and mental well-being. The persistent, vibrating, knotted-up sensation can cause aches and pains, headaches, gastro-woes, sexual dysfunctio­n, dizziness, grinding of teeth and sleep problems, and can increase or suppress your appetite and make you more vulnerable to infection, heart disease and other chronic illnesses. It can also affect emotional well-being: Mismanaged stress becomes distress, and chronic distress can trigger depression and anxiety.

But stress that turns to action, cleverness, problem-solving and excitement — that can be productive, even enjoyable, and new research shows it may even improve your brain power. In fact, folks who say they don’t feel stress turn out to do less well on cognition tests, and the difference in cognition is equal to more than eight years of aging, according to a study published in Emotion. The chronicall­y stress-free are also less likely to experience positive events and to give or receive emotional support, add the researcher­s from Penn State.

So how can you dismantle your chronic negative stress response and harness the benefits of positive stress?


Identify your stress triggers: Certain people, places or situations might inevitably cause you distress. Admit it — out loud, either to yourself and written down in a journal or to a close friend or family member (or therapist).


The triumvirat­e of stressbust­ing techniques is aerobic exercise, meditation and deep breathing. They lower levels of stress hormones, and that relaxes your muscles, improves your mood, eases aches, and restores calm. Your goal: 60 minutes of moderate activity every day; 1015 minutes of meditation every morning; progressiv­e muscle relaxation and/or deep breathing routine every night. Check out for instructio­ns.

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. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare. com.

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