Stress is a normal part of life that can either help us or hurt us depending on how we manage it. When stress is managed effectively, it can be a positive force that motivates us to perform at our best. However, when not managed properly, stress can lead to physical and emotional health problems.
The key to managing stress lies in our ability to identify healthy coping mechanisms and implement them into our lives. Some healthy coping mechanisms include exercise, relaxation techniques, and journaling. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to managing stress, by diligently practicing healthy coping mechanisms, we can all learn to better manage the stress in our lives.
Impact of Stress on Your Chronic Illness
If you have a chronic illness, such as heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, or asthma, stress can make your condition worse. When you’re stressed, your body goes into “fight-or-flight” mode. This triggers a rise in blood pressure and heart rate, as well as the release of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. When chronically activated, this stress response can increase the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
Additionally, stress can make chronic pain worse and contribute to fatigue and insomnia. If you have a chronic illness, it’s important to find ways to manage your stress so that you can improve your overall health and quality of life.