DRS. OZ AND ROIZEN — Q & A

Reduce stress, build resilience


Published: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 at 5:56 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 at 5:56 p.m.

Q: Overload alert! I got fired (downsized), my mom's moving into assisted living and now I've developed irritable bowel syndrome. Can you throw me a lifeline here? — Molly P., Lexington, Ky.

A: If contending with daily life feels like you're doing squats with a 300-pound weight on your shoulders, we're here to lighten the load and help you tone your coping muscles. Then, when stuff happens (and it surely will), it won't weigh so heavily on you. And remember that dealing with occasional adversity is what gives you the skills to keep your life on track and avoid stress-related health problems. So don't let a bad patch throw you.

Here's our two-step guide to regaining resilience and lessening stress.

Soothing your gut: Easing the pain, constipation and/or diarrhea of irritable bowel syndrome overlaps with de-stressing your life. While this syndrome may be triggered by brain-gut miscommunication, bacteria or even food sensitivities, emotions can play a big part. To ease your IBS, try:

— Practicing 10 minutes of meditation a day. (ClevelandClinicWellness.com has instructions.)

— Getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night.

— Taking probiotics to balance good/bad bacteria in your intestines. We like ones that come in a stomach-acid-resisting hard shell.

— Starting a walking program (aim for 10,000 steps a day). It regulates body chemistry and emotions.

— Eliminating from your diet any grain that's not 100 percent whole and added sugars or sugar syrups and trans fats; go for minimal saturated fats. Clearing out cruddy food builds strength in body and spirit.

Building resilience: Bounce back from stressful situations by upgrading the foods you eat, supplements you take and physical exercise you get. (See why we said getting IBS under control also helps you cope with emotional challenges?) Add in support from friends and family (make sure to ask how they are, too!) and consciously stating things positively (it changes how you feel), and you're ready to handle whatever life dishes up!

Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. Submit your health questions at www.doctoroz.com.

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