Limit political stress for better health

essential strategyDr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Mike Roizen, MDs, posted an email ad, Limit Political Stress for Better Health, I’m a not a devotee of Oz and don’t know Roizen, but it sounds about right, especially with US Thanksgiving coming up.

“A University of Nebraska survey found that nearly 40% of people say politics are stressing them out; 20% are losing sleep or are fatigued or suffering depression because of politics; and 20% report that political discussions have damaged friendships. This worries health professionals.”

ONLY 20% report damaged friendships?

They lay out a plethora of ailments including depression, anxiety, headaches and chronic pain syndromes. “It can exacerbate asthma and COPD; damage the circulatory system and heart; disrupt your hormone balance and immune system; increase your risk of dementia and cancer; cause digestive upset; and even alter fertility.”

Altered fertility? Maybe this explains the diminishing birth rate, not just in the United States.

“That’s why it’s important to find a way to de-escalate anxiety, anger, and conflict about political events (while remaining committed to every American’s involvement in the political process — including that uncle you disagree with).”

Even HIM? OK.

Avoiding political stress

“Here are some tips to avoid the stress of politics:
• Limit time spent watching and reading news coverage.
I fail.

• Turn off your phone’s news alerts.
I think this is a GREAT idea, actually.

• Ask friends to drop the subject, and talk about movies, books, or food instead.
I see the first two as problematic. For instance, I can see someone recommending “Why Trump Deserves Trust, Respect and Admiration,” a real book title with blank pages. Someone responses with the newest book by conservative author Dinesh D’Souza.

Do you really want to discuss a Michael Moore film with half of your relatives?
And heck, food’s dangerous too. It can engender debates about foie gras, meat, or food produced from farther than 100 miles away, to name just a few topics.

• Use physical activity (60 minutes daily) and meditation to calm your stress response and mind.
Yes, walk away from these discussions and discuss the weather. “Climate change is killing us!” “There’s no such thing!”
Or, ah, er…

With Thanksgiving at hand, what are now SAFE conversation starters?