According to studies, our deeply divided and toxic political environment has increased anxiety and worry so much that many Americans are literally getting sick.

It should come as no surprise that a volatile political environment can take a serious toll on our overall health with increased stress, anxiety, poor eating and neglecting healthful activities like working out. If the current political environment is making you sick, here are eight suggestions to protect your head and your heart.

  1. Keep on exercising. Even if you can't make it to the gym daily, get in a minimum of three days a week, and add in walking in your neighborhood or doing push ups in your bedroom. Get in your 30 to 60 minutes of daily exercise when and where ever you can. Exercise will help you stay strong and keeps your heart and head healthy.
  2. Self-care. The secret to keeping stress from unraveling your health is managing that stress with activities such as meditation and exercise. It also helps to stay connected to loved ones, family and friends.
  3. Get to the doctor. Even if you have to pay out of pocket, go and see your doctor.  Regular annual medical checkups are one of the best ways to keep healthy and avoid potential health road blocks.
  4. Don't smoke. If you smoke, stop! If you are around a smoker and sucking up their secondhand smoke, then have them stop. Contrary to popular belief, smoking does not alleviate stress but actually increases it. As if that were not enough, smoking also significantly increases your risks of heart attacks and heart failure. It's also a drain on your wallet, life insurance, and health care plan.
  5. Keep an eye on your blood pressure. High blood pressure is a silent health risk, and many with the condition are even unaware that they have it. High blood pressure is a major factor for heart attacks, strokes and heart failure. Be sure to check your blood pressure regularly, especially if you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure and don't forget to take your pressure pills. Always strive to maintain a normal blood pressure.
  6. Check your cholesterol. High cholesterol is another silent, but deadly health risk. You can't check your cholesterol, so you'll have to get to the doctor for a blood test. Maintaining healthy cholesterol levels means balancing good nutrition and exercise. Some folks have genetically high cholesterol, and they'll have to remain vigilant and conscientious about maintaining healthy levels, and they may also need medication to manage their condition.
  7. Eat and drink healthy. Overall, strive to eat in moderation and be sure to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. A serving of a fruit or vegetable is only a half of a cup. Eat lean protein and eat good fats like avocado and olive oil. Avoid fast foods and fried foods. Drink plenty of water, avoid soft drinks, and drink alcohol in moderation.
  8. Television is bad for your health too, mom and dad.  We all agree that too much television is not good for our kids, right? Guess what?  The boob tube is not good for adults either. Yes, there's the obvious stuff, sitting around motionless for hours just isn't very good for us. Not to mention, television, smart phones and our tech devices increase sleep disorders, depression and anxiety.

So, if the current political and economic conditions have you reporting extraordinarily high stress levels and experiencing more bad mental and physical health days, just remember to "put your oxygen mask on first" and take very good care of yourself.