For a long time, emotional stress was thought to be a leading cause of ulcers. Doctors now know that stress doesn't cause ulcers—but anxiety, tension, and a high-strung approach to life can increase the brain's perception of pain, says Dr. Meyers. If you already have an ulcer—or have had one in the past—it makes sense to include stress reduction in your overall treatment plan.
Everyone controls stress in different ways. Vigorous exercise—walking, running, or biking, for example—is a great way to dispel tension at the end of hectic days. Others turn to more formal stress reduction strategies, such as deep breathing, meditation, or prayer. The idea isn't to eliminate stress entirely, but simply to find ways to prevent it from taking over your life—or disrupting your insides.