Let’s face it, stress is a part of life. It has a constant presence in our lives. A chronic disease like arthritis brings, inflammation, pain, high medical bills, and an uncertain future, which only adds to the stress levels.
Did you know that being under stress can worsen your arthritis symptoms?
How Stress Affects Arthritis
When we are stressed, our body’s response is to release chemicals that can help ready us to face the challenges ahead. Our breathing quickens, our heart rate increases, and our muscles tense.
Of course, this reaction is fine in the short term but when it happens repeatedly, the increased tension in your muscles can intensify your arthritis pain.
Stress also sets off the immune system’s inflammatory response. Inflammation is what fuels joint damage. The longer you are stressed, the more destructive the inflammation can become.
Stress Management Tips
Regular exercise is one of the most important things you can do to relieve stress and anxiety. Exercise boosts the feel-good chemicals in your brain. It also has direct benefits for those living with arthritis.
It includes strengthening joint-supporting muscles and it helps with weight loss that can take the pressure off your joints. A great way to kick off would be with yoga and tai chi.
When you are stressed, comfort food is always the first port of call (well for me anyway) because it can feel so… comforting. Sadly that ‘’high’’ is only temporary. Try eating nutritious, anti-inflammatory foods such as tomatoes, fruits, nuts, and fish.
Body & Soul:
Just like how your body and its pain can affect your thoughts and emotions. The same is true for how your emotions and thoughts can change the way your body feels.
There are a number of activities that can help harmonize body and soul to help you feel better. Why not try:
- Deep breathing
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Talk it Out:
Ever hear, a problem shared is a problem halved?
Talking through your troubles with a loved one or a medical professional can work wonders for relieving your stress.
Whether it’s over the phone to a friend, over a cuppa with a loved one, or talking to a medical professional.
Enjoying the Simple Pleasures:
Relieving stress doesn’t have to be complicated, time-consuming, or expensive. It’s ok to let yourself enjoy the things that bring you joy and peace. Watch a funny movie, enjoy the colour by numbers books, stroll through the park, bake, soak in a bubble bath.
Take some time away from your daily stresses and just enjoy the moment.
Message for a Massage:
A massage can be both relaxing and therapeutic. It can help ease anxiety, pain, and stiffness. Talk to the masseuse to learn the best type of massage for you.
Talk to your Doctor:
If the above activities haven’t helped, it might be time to talk to a doctor. There are antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs as well as other medications that are used to help treat stress and anxiety. Your doctor will what is best for you.
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