Sunday, April 22, 2012

Stress-Proof Yourself for Less Flares

We all know that stress makes our fibro flares worse.  Frankly, stress can make anything worse.  According to the American Psychological Association, 75% of Americans suffer some type of symptom due to stress in any given month.  77% feel physical symptoms, while 73% experience psychological symptoms.  Money and work are the leading causes of stress and anxiety and almost half of Americans feel they are more stressed now than they have been in the past.  Statistically and logically speaking, stress is bad for us all if it's prolonged.

Health.com's latest issue explains that there are ways we can reduce our stress and live happier and healthier lives.  The major thing they stress (pardon the pun) is that we should all take a break and enjoy some pleasurable activities.

The article went into Harvard's recent survey of what makes us happy.  The highest ranking activity was sex (that's SO surprising LOL!).  Among the other top activities were exercising, talking, and doing housework. 

I can understand exercising, but housework?  Housework tends to be the bane of my existence.  It's never done and there's always more piled on your plate even if you've made a dent.  I have visions of the laundry hamper secretly becoming guppies because that thing seems to multiple in minutes!  And then there's the white carpet that's in the house... I could just look at it and stains will form-- I SWEAR!  NO LIE!  It's tasks like those that make me not want to have fun at my writer's group meetings or go for girl's night out.  I get stressed just thinking about leaving the house.

And most of us, including myself, tend to put any kind of fun on the back burner when our plates are full.  I know my husband yells at me all the time for doing this.  He knows better than I that housework will always be there but my sanity won't.  The problem with this is he doesn't understand that I tend to think having fun is a luxury that I can't afford to have.  There's always something left on my lists of things to do and my guilt of not getting things done wins out.

However, according to Health.com, one study shows that people who have fun are more likely to have lower blood pressure and cortisol scores as opposed to fuddy-duddies like me who choose to do work all the time. Studies like these, and the constant nagging of my husband, make me want to listen because I just might be missing out on flare-free happiness.

After reading this article I've decided to re-think my outlook on life and here's my top three anxiety antidotes that I'm going to incorporate into my daily life to relieve some anxiety and stress.

  1. Stop to smell the roses.  I love gardening but there are times when my work load has me avoiding the light of day.  This isn't good because the sun allows the body to absorb vitamin D, something that is hard for our bodies to absorb naturally through food or supplements.  The sun also helps us to feel less fatigued and feeling less tired is a plus for any fibromite!
  2. Tea and crumpets aren't just for the English.  Sipping an afternoon tea is actually beneficial to your health.  Studies have shown that tea drinkers are happier people.  That's a plus right there, but there's also other health benefits to certain teas.  Green tea has been shown to ward off heart disease, diabetes, and even dementia.  Earl Grey has been shown to be a mood lifter and raspberry black currant tea helps with menstrual and menopausal problems along with having natural anti-inflammatory properties.
  3. Accentuate the positive.  No one likes to hear anyone complain.  It's negative and brings us to an all-time low.  Instead of talking up a storm about the man who cut me off on the highway I'm going to try and accentuate the positive things.  Things like the good deal I got on a spring handbag to how cute my four year old looked when she helped me scrap the wallpaper off of the hallway walls are much more pleasurable events.  And accentuating these positives will help me ward off the negative effects of the stressful events in my day.

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,

Kimberley
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