Stressed Out by the Health Care Debate?
by Debra Kozikowski
Here’s a good one.
CNN radio reports, among other bad news, that the health care reform debate could be making us sick. Adding another layer of stress to a stressful time, what with an uncertain economy marked by job losses, high prices at the pump and a shaky Wall Street, there is added tension in worrying about our health care. Watching the news coverage of those raucus town hall meetings boiling over with angry, loud people only makes it worse. According to New York internist Dr. Erica Shwartz the whole mess could be having an effect on our health.
Now the health care system, all of a sudden we’re discussing this ad nauseum and now the stress level goes up … so we make more cortisone, the blood pressure goes up, we can’t sleep, instead of eating better, we eat less well …”
We’ve known for awhile the effects of stress on our overall health. There are articles and studies and even a field science, psychoneuroimmunology, to study the link between the brain and immune system. But we also know there are ways to lessen the effects of the stressors we find ourselves surrounded by. Dr. Shwartz touched upon an obvious remedy when she talked about the need to eat better.
Developing a personal relationship with food can be helpful. Gardening can be a stress reliever and can also decrease your food costs. Grow your own tomatoes and can them. Freeze green beans and other veggies. You’ll be amazed at the great recipes you can use them in all through the next winter. You’ll save money by cutting back on your grocery costs for longer than the harvest season.
But don’t worry if you don’t have a green thumb. You can still commit to eating healthier by purchasing fresh locally grown fruits and vegetables direct from producers at farmer’s markets and roadside stands. Keeping in mind that stressed backwards spells desserts, buy a quart of berries and bake yourself a tasty and better for you blueberry pie. It feels good to support local growers instead of buying foreign imports. And feeling good reduces stress!