Chronic Illness Tip: Learn to Manage Stress

Stress is something that we cannot easily avoid because it is hard of our daily lives. It is the mind and body’s response to the pressures and tensions that affect us. Too much stress leads to an increase in pain, makes us prone to illness and for those of us with arthritis and other pain conditions, it affects our ability to cope with pain and other symptoms.

While stress is not always avoidable, it is still important to reduce stress, to learn to overcome the harmful effects of the disease, and to teach one self’s to cope. To do this, start by identifying the stressors in your life so that you can work to avoid, minimize or manage these things. It also helps to share your feelings and thoughts while working to avoid depression. Things that can help include: simplifying your life, managing your time, conserving your energy, and setting short term goals. You can help yourself by setting and working towards long term realistic goals, not resulting to drugs and alcohol to cope, utilizing arthritis support and education resources, becoming mentally and physically fit, and having a positive attitude. It is also important to realize some things are out of your control like the fact that the disease is a part of life or that there are always people not willing to understand. To cope, learn and practice relaxation techniques and teach yourself how to overcome barriers to relaxation.

Too much stress will make it hard for you to face the problems that arthritis brings into your life. Problems that arthritis already brings into your life include medical expenses, changes in your lifestyle, side effects from medications and concerns about the future. If you learn to cope, you will reduce pain, feel better, and deal with all those demands and problems. Therefore, it makes sense to learn how manage stress and cope with stress as it arises.


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