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Attitude is important in controlling your stress

Sep. 09, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

"Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one," said endocrinologist Hans Seyle, who in the late 1930s was one of the first scientists to explore the effect of chronic stress on the body. Turns out chronic stress leads to an impaired immune system, higher blood pressure, arteriosclerosis, arthritis, kidney disease, allergic reactions, obesity, acne -- and a less-than-ho-hum love life. A new study also confirms that attitude has physical consequences. If you think your level of stress is hard on your heart, you're twice as likely to die from heart disease or have a non-fatal heart attack as folks who don't believe stress negatively affects their health.

But if that's not enough to persuade you that it's time to de-stress, consider this: Unmanaged stress turns harmful genes on and good genes off -- and those alterations can be passed from generation to generation, setting up your offspring for unpredictable health problems.

So if you want to adopt the "right" attitude to manage stress, here's our four-part plan:

1. Meditate for 10 minutes two times a day; try mindfulness and progressive relaxation (at sharecare.com).

2. Get plenty of physical exercise: We say 10,000 steps a day and two to three days of strength building for 20-30 minutes.

3. Volunteer for a good cause. Generosity and caring create peaceful, loving feelings.

4. Make extra time for your family, your true love and your friends.

Bonus tip: Make more time for love-making (love is an essential component) -- it's the No. 1 way to manage stress.

Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Dr. Mike Roizen is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com.

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