This week’s post comes a day late to coincide with its publication here: www.ChronicBabe.com
Are your fibromyalgia symptoms driven by stress?
For most of us, our stress loads (whether business or personal) result in increased symptoms. Then the increased symptoms become the source of more stress. We’re stuck! We wonder — where does it end?
I actually once had a doctor tell me to stop feeling stressed. He said that I should just ignore it. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t find that advice very helpful.
It occurred to me that telling a person with fibromyalgia to ignore stress
is somewhat like telling a pea to ignore the pod.
Stress and fibromyalgia are intricately intertwined … and it shows! Under stress, the digestive system goes into mutiny, the muscles snap to attention, and the brain tries to run the whole show, finding as much success as the Wizard of Oz behind his veil of disguise.
So … what’s a ChronicBabe to do?
The obvious starting place is to eliminate or reduce the cause of stress. Beware — this might not work. It’s common for the source of our stress to be something we can do little about (hence, the feeling of stress!). If we can’t eliminate stress, what can we do? We can take action and deal with stress in healthy ways.
Here’s why that’s important. In physiological terms, stress causes increased blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, and a decrease in digestive function. Bad news! This is the sympathetic nervous system at work, also referred to as “fight or flight.” Chronic health challenges result from staying in this unhealthy state for long periods of time.
The antidote? True relaxation! When the body is relaxed, the parasympathetic nervous system calms the body by lowering blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, and while allowing healthy digestion.
The parasympathetic nervous system induces a healing state. Want to kick your healing state into action? Try prayer, meditation, deep breathing, gentle exercise, imagery, and humor. The best thing about these healing modalities is that you don’t have to spend money, have special training, or even leave the comfort of your home. You can learn more about any or all that interest you online or at your local library. A plethora of books, CDs, and DVDs are available.
Looking for relaxation in life means seeking a state of balance. Recognize the effects of stress on your body. Notice how out of balance you feel. Make a point to implement regular deep breathing techniques. Lose yourself in prayer or meditation. Take a nature walk with your family, or listen to guided imagery CD. Even laughing at a funny movie can bring you to a state of relaxation.
The next time you feel life coming apart at the hinges, remember this: The states of stress and relaxation cannot exist at the same time, just as darkness cannot exist where there’s light.
So … flip on the light and apply the relaxation techniques that work for you! Fill me in on YOUR favorites!