Chronic stress directly contributes to numerous health problems including heart disease, stroke, obesity, depression, and maybe even cancer. Stress can also indirectly worsen disease by influencing lifestyle behaviors such as sleep, physical activity, and eating habits. A recent article in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine emphasizes that over 75% of doctor’s visits are stress-related, highlighting the urgent need to implement healthy stress management techniques.
Dean Ornish, founder of the Ornish Lifestyle Medicine program, explains that individuals can choose to handle stress in one of two ways: avoiding the external stressor or improving one’s own reaction. Avoidance may not be realistic and can sometimes lead to negative coping strategies. Conversely, developing effective strategies for dealing with stress can promote healthy reactions, build emotional resilience, and prevent the harmful effects of a stressful situation.