Rancho Family Medical Group

Summer 2019

Issue link: http://cp.revolio.com/i/1141465

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Page 22 of 31

MATTHEW COMBS, MD FINDING YOUR ESCAPE Did you know that the physiology of the brain and body can be affected by stress? It has been linked to causing heart disease, high blood pressure, a sup- pressed immune system and diabetes; long term stress can kill brain cells, reduce brain size, and contribute to memory dysfunctions .1 Unfortunately, stress is a common symptom of many people's everyday lives. Despite physician recommendations, most people find Despite physician recommendations, most people find themselves too busy and preoccupied to embrace a period of relaxation. As a physician, it is crucial that I take my own advice regarding the maintenance of stress. Al- though there are hundreds of healthy outlets for stress relief in our society today, my choice is fly fishing. A study by Harvard Medical School associated fly fish- ing with diminished stress levels. What they found was the repetitive motion and the focus it takes to move the fly where you want it on the water, "breaks the train of everyday thought." The repetitive, almost meditative process of fly-fishing—while surrounded by nature and no electronics—easily drops anglers into a relaxed state. Studies have shown that fly-fishing reduces stress levels, symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Dis- order (PTSD) and improves quality of sleep. 2 Understandably, fly fishing may not appeal 22

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