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April is Stress Awareness Month; here are some tips on how to deal with stress in your life

How do we get a grip? On the latest 'Health Yeah! podcast, Monica Robins talked to MetroHealth psychologist Dr. Robert Smith for some answers.

CLEVELAND — Chronic stress is a killer. Literally.

Not only does it cause headaches, stomach disorders and depression, it can also lead to stroke and heart attacks, too. Gain the pandemic pounds? Probably stress related. Can't shake the worry? Chronic stress. 

So how do we get a grip? I talked to MetroHealth psychologist Dr. Robert Smith. He's battled life-threatening cancer for five years and on April Fool’s day went in for another surgery. He knows a thing or two about life and death stress.

His first rule? Recognize what you can't control and let it go. Change your mindset to one of gratitude. What are you thankful for? Who are you grateful to have in your life? Write them a letter. 

"We have research that shows that exercise can cause feelings of happiness, up to 30 days later, from writing one letter," Smith said.

Practice selfless acts that have impact. Something simple, like planting a tree.

"I'll never get to sit under that tree, but others will, and that makes all the difference," he said.

Be present. You can't change yesterday and you don't know what awaits tomorrow, so focus on the next five minutes.

Listen to Dr. Smith's entire inspiring interview on the latest edition of the "Health Yeah! with Monica Robins" podcast below:

Links to listen to Health Yeah! with Monica Robins:

Follow @monicarobins on Twitter and Instagram and on Facebook, Monica Robins (WKYC) to stay tuned in on upcoming podcasts and health news. Stay well and have a healthy week!

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