Don’t let stress get under your skin
Everyone knows that cleaning and bandaging a cut helps it heal faster. But how about reducing stress and not arguing with your romantic partner? Some research suggests they can also aid in healing!
Results from a number of studies found that stress can slow the healing of wounds and weaken the immune system. One study found that married couples who argued healed at 60 percent of the rate of couples that got along well. The American Academy of Dermatology also advises that stress can make psoriasis or rosacea worse, inflame acne, lead to brittle nails and hair loss, cause or worsen hives, and impair skin barrier function to allow irritants, allergens and infectious agents to penetrate the skin.
Dr. Joseph Dagenbach, internal medicine physician with The Christ Hospital Physicians--Primary Care, offers the following guidelines for knowing if stress is putting your health at risk:
- Everyone reacts to stress differently. Common symptoms can include headaches, rapid heartbeat, chest pains, problems sleeping, irritability, anxiety, upset stomach, back and neck pain, overeating or loss of appetite, forgetfulness and fatigue.
- Learn how stress affects you. For example, recognizing you reach for the cookie jar when stressed will help keep you from packing on extra pounds.
- What is it that is driving you crazy? By first slowing down and analyzing the family relationships, work issues or health concerns that may be leading to stress, you can then more easily identify possible solutions.
- To keep yourself from going mental, get physical. One study found that older adults who followed a regular exercise routine speed up the wound-healing process by as much as 25 percent.
- Don’t let stress lead you to neglect your skin care regimen or fall into behaviors such as scratching, pulling or rubbing that can make skin conditions worse.
- Don’t take it out on the ones you love. Researchers found that even newlywed wives risked weakened immune systems after martial arguments.
- Money worries are a major source of stress. Take a realistic look at your financial situation and then plan a course of action that puts you in control of the situation. Make a budget, get the entire family involved in saving and consider outside recourses such as not-for-profit credit counseling organizations for debt that seems overwhelming.
- Don’t get caught up in the drama of the negative news stories about the state of the economy and world affairs. Pay attention to what is going on in your life and stay focused on managing your stress and achieving your goals.
- Think outside of the box to help escape stress. Eating dinner at home with the family can save money and improve relationships. Try a new hobby like learning a new computer program that can add to your value at work or give you a skill to find a new job.
To find a physician near you, call 877-904-4YOU or visit www.TheChristHospital.com.