Vim & Vigor - Summer 2018 - Parrish Medical Center - 31

4

YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM

If you've ever gotten sick during a stressful time-think finals
week in college or while planning a big event like your wedding-
you've probably experienced the connection between stress and
your immune system firsthand. If stress is allowed to continue unchecked,
it can hinder your body's ability to fight off illness (or manage one you
already have).
significant
Adequate rest and exercise can give your immune system a signifi
cant
boost, Greenberg says. She also recommends foods rich in omega-3s,
such as salmon, as well as garlic, black tea, turmeric and chicken soup,
the old standby. You can also feed your immune system in other ways.
"Don't discount the importance of social support and connecting
with others," Greenberg says. "But ensure you're talking to the right
person-someone you trust-because some people can make your
stress worse."

5

YOUR MENTAL HEALTH

A stressful episode can leave you feeling anxious,
depressed or mentally exhausted. Chronic stress can
result in depression, anxiety and panic attacks, and even
memory loss and impaired concentration over time. How do you know
when it's time for professional help?
"If you're experiencing stress or unhappiness that's interfering with
your life or with accomplishing daily tasks, it may be time to seek help,"
Greenberg says. Chronic stress and anxiety can be treated with therapy and
medications, if necessary.
And remember that, try as you might, you can't prevent or avoid all
the stress that life throws at you. But that's all the more reason to treat yourself
to healthy pick-me-ups whenever and wherever possible.
"The more stressful your life, the more important it is to have things planned in your
immediate future (like this weekend) that bring you pleasure-things that you can
look forward to all week as well as enjoy when they happen," Storoni says. ■

PHOTOS BY GETTY IMAGES

MEDITATE ON THIS COFFEE MUG
Making time for mindful activities such as meditation during your busy day isn't always
possible. But you can get the stress-relief benefits without even closing your eyes through
a practice called focused-attention meditation. Try this simple exercise, from Mithu
Storoni, MD, author of Stress-Proof: The Scientific Solution to Protect Your Brain and
Body-and Be More Resilient Every Day:
1. Choose an object to focus on, like a mug with an image on it at your desk.
2. Set a timer on your phone for two minutes.
3. Focus on the picture. "Whenever your attention drifts away, rein it back in," she
says. "If two minutes is too difficult, start at one minute; if it's too easy, try five minutes."
Besides having a calming effect, focused-attention meditation can help strengthen your
attention, which contributes to better emotional regulation and self-control, improving
your overall stress response, Storoni says.

CALL

Hit the Mat to
Reduce Stress
Controlled breathing and relaxation might help your body and
mind. Try a yoga class at Parrish
Health & Fitness Center! Call
321-567-2201.

S UMME R 2018

31



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