MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Some stress can be a good thing because it’s your body’s way of preparing for a challenge. But a steady stream of stress can be bad for your health.

Studies show it can even weaken your immune system, and you need that to fight off disease and illness. If you find yourself constantly stressed, try a few of these tips approved by Dr. Varnada Karriem-Norwood for staying chilled out, and stay healthier.

Let’s start with pets. There’s a reason dogs are called “man’s best friend.” Dogs and other pets can offer us companionship, exercise, and even good health. Studies have found that having a pet can help reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels and improve heart health.

One study showed that having a dog can help improve immune system development and may reduce the risks of allergies in children.

The next tip for lowering stress is an easy one: Laugh. A good belly laugh is great for you. A group of researchers who looked at several studies about laughter and immune function found that people who laughed out loud at funny videos had higher immune function after watching the video.

While laughter clearly boosts mood, more studies are needed to prove whether laughter actually helps prevent or minimize illness.

Finally, listen to your mother: Eat your fruits and veggies. They can help you get a healthy dose of antioxidants. They help protect your cells from free radicals, molecules that can damage cells.

Choose fruits and vegetables of different colors, such as oranges, green peppers, kiwi, strawberries, carrots, leafy greens and cantaloupe. And everyone’s triggers for stress are different, so it’s important to identify what yours are.