Stress is toxic. It will rob you of your piece of mind and your health. While not the cause of many diseases and conditions including psoriasis, it is a contributing factor because it is so damaging to the body physically and emotionally. Psoriasis and stress is something to consider if you can’t seem to get a break from psoriasis flare-ups.
Stress is a part of life and can even be considered a good thing if it spurs you on to achieve your goals, take and complete a class, get healthy, etc. We all have to deal with some level of stress about financial obligations, kids, deadlines, job pressures, emotional issues, etc.
Stress only becomes a problem when it turns into chronic stress. It is normal to be stressed out about completing a term paper, work deadline, etc. But at some point this stress should be relieved such as when the term paper is completed and turned in, when you meet your work deadline or get an extension, etc.
Being stressed out day after day, week after week, month after month and year after year is a recipe for disaster.
When faced with a stressful situation, your body will go into a “fight or flight” state when it releases certain stress hormones. This will cause;
- Rapid heart rate
- Sweaty palms
- Rapid breathing
- Increased blood pressure
- Digestion will stop
- Rigid muscles
- Fats and sugars being released into the bloodstream increasing blood glucose levels and cholesterol, etc.
In ancient times, there would be fighting or fleeing going on in stressful situations. In the modern world however, the “fight or flight” response by the body is redundant since most stressors such as financial worries and so forth, do not require this type of response. However, this response by the body to stress continues to occur anytime you are stressed out.
If this response is not constant, it will not be a problem, When you are dealing with chronic stress however, it becomes a problem and can be a contributing factor to most is not all diseases and conditions such as;
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Weakened immune system and all the problems that can cause
- Belly fat
- Digestive problems
- Sleep disorders
- Hair loss
Stress and the Brain
Stress will exhaust your organs including your brain by actually shrinking your brain. The part of the brain that will be affected by chronic stress is the structure known as the hippocampus which is important for memory.
Stress is able to shrink this structure by decreasing or shrinking the existing cells. Tons of research validates this brain shrinkage due to stress. And this structure in the brain is usually the first place to be damaged when Alzheimer’s disease is at play.
You CANNOT afford to live with chronic stress!!!
As mentioned previously, chronic stress is a contributing factor for many diseases and conditions and this includes psoriasis. Stress has been identified as one of the common triggers for the various signs of psoriasis.
Chronic stress can be a contributing factor in making psoriasis worse. In people who are predisposed to psoriasis, chronic stress can be the trigger needed for a flare-up.
A study in the UK also showed that chronic stress can interfere with and delay the healing process. Chronic stress can affect the ability of being able to respond favorably or quickly to treatment methods for psoriasis such as light therapy.
Fighting psoriasis will require you to take a closer look at your stress levels and learn to manage stress effectively. It is impossible to have no stress at all but it is how you respond to stress that will be the difference between health and ill health.
If you suffer from chronic stress, learning to manage stress so that it does not affect your health and lead to psoriasis flare-ups requires that you first identify the triggers which could be any of the following;
- Financial pressures
- Family and relationships
- Work pressures
- Major life changes
- Pessimistic attitude
- Unrealistic goals and expectations of yourself
- Being a perfectionist and so on and so forth
The next step is to evaluate your response to stress. Do you;
- Have a rapid heartbeat
- Suffer from insomnia or sleep too much
- Become agitated
- Need to drink or smoke to relax (which actually worsens stress)
- Withdraw or become unusually quiet
- Avoid the issue
- Display a lack of concentration
- Become negative
- Become depressed
- Have mental fatigue
- Become hostile
- Become lethargic and so on and so forth
Knowing how you respond to stress will help you determine when you are under stress so that you can learn to manage it and avoid flare-ups and many of the other effects of chronic stress.
When you notice that you are dealing with an overload of stress, it is important to be proactive in the presence of excessive stress. Stress management is all about eliminating the stressful situation or minimizing it. Stress management is also about learning to relax or not being so consumed with the stressful situation.
This can be accomplished through;
- Deep breathing exercises (stress and deep breathing cannot coexist)
- Aromatherapy treatments
- Stress reducing exercises
- Visualization techniques
- Yoga, etc
Identifying stressors may also require you to modify your behaviors such as avoiding work overload or taking on too many responsibilities, ensuring that you eat a proper diet filled with fruits and vegetables, avoiding alcohol, eliminating smoking, caffeine, unhealthy fats and sugars, creating a budget (and sticking to it!) etc.
Quick Tip – when you notice yourself feeling highly stressed, reach for vitamin C. A study showed that vitamin C is able to reduce stress levels and help normalize blood pressure levels. When stressed, reach for an orange, strawberries, papaya, grapefruit, kiwi, and many other sources of vitamin C.
Aromatherapy is a great way to relieve stress and certain essential oils used in aromatherapy such as lavender, rose, chamomile, frankincense, orange, etc, can help you relax and calm down when stressed.
Some essential oils can also help you recharge as well as revitalize and stimulate you in addition to helping to boost your immune system.
The use of aromatherapy baths, massage oils, inhalants, skin, hair and body treatments and so forth, can be a great way to not only pamper oneself but also relieve stress.
Stress Relieving Aromatherapy Bath Recipe
3 drops lavender essential oil
3 drops chamomile essential oil
1 drop fennel essential oil
1 drop geranium essential oil
1 drop cypress essential oil
1 drop vetiver essential oil
Fill a bath with warm water, add these essential oils to the bath water and soak away your troubles.
Herbs For Stress Relief
The following herbs are excellent natural stress relieving tools and include;
- Ginkgo biloba
- Asian ginseng
- Saint John’s wort
- Lemon balm
Psoriasis and stress are connected. If you do not get a handle on stress, stress will handle you. You will deal with psoriasis flare-ups after psoriasis flare-ups with no relief in sight if stress is not managed. For more ways to overcome psoriasis naturally, click here.