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Stress is a normal part of life. While some stress is good, too much stress and anxiety is bad for your health. The National Institute of Mental Health issued a report in 2000 documenting the association between stress and the immune system. Apparently, people with chronic stress (couples with marital stress, medical students with exam stress, caregivers of the sick and elderly, etc;) experienced weakened immune systems and were more susceptible to viral infections like the common cold.
The National Institutes of Health provides these guidelines for stress control:
• First try to identify the things in your life that cause you stress: marital problems, conflict at work, a death or illness in the family; then find ways to control them
• If there's a problem that can be solved, set about taking control and solving it. For example, you might decide to change jobs if problems at work are making you too stressed.
• Some chronic stressors can't be changed. Stress relieving activities such as support groups, relaxation, meditation, and exercise are tools you can use for stress management. See your health care provider if you find that you worry excessively about the small things in life.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|