Stress is a fact of life, but its impact on our lives can be debilitating and even harmful. Here are some easy yet important ways to manage it.
While taking care of other health needs, it remains important to address the ways that stress can take a toll on our mental, emotional and physical health.
Two physicians from Keck Medicine of USC weigh in on the Big Question: How do I take care of myself while under stress?
Seyed Parham Khalili, MD, geriatrician, USC Family Medicine
This year has been incredibly challenging for most of us, and it has been understandably difficult to remain healthy and achieve a sense of normalcy.
Yet there are strategies we can employ to help us deal with stress.
Good nutrition is more important than ever to help support our immune systems and maintain a healthy weight.
“…[M]aking an effort to start with even just one or two adjustments can snowball into additional changes that will help us build resiliency and more confidently deal with stress.“
Seyed Parham Khalili, MD
For most of us, this means making a consistent effort to plan our intake of fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole grains and lean proteins while trying to limit simple carbohydrates, sugars and processed foods.
Similarly, making time for physical activity naturally reduces stress and improves mood.
Although many of these suggestions are much easier said than done, making an effort to start with even just one or two adjustments can snowball into additional changes that will help us build resiliency and more confidently deal with stress.
Steven Siegel, MD, PhD, psychiatrist, USC Psychiatry & Behavioral Health
Our environment is filled with external challenges that affect everyone in different ways. This can feel like their solution lies elsewhere, but the key to happiness lies within each individual.
Health is largely a function of our choices. Physical health is dependent on diet, exercise and the degree to which we expose ourselves to toxins.
Alternatively, mental health is more complex, since the factors that dictate happiness are not universally understood.
“…[W]e are more the product of our choices than our environment. This realization is the most powerful tool for achieving happiness in challenging times.”
Steven Siegel, MD, PhD
Yet, there are general principles that can guide our capacity to feel happy.
Specifically, we are more the product of our choices than our environment. This realization is the most powerful tool for achieving happiness in challenging times.
We can control how we feel by choosing what we do. 1) Establish your routine. 2) Set realistic goals and small accomplishments every day. 3) Be intentional about connecting to something in the present moment.