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Stress must be managed and kept in balance or we may become ill and find our relationships adversely affected.

Health Concerns Page

Stress Management is based on how you think and act.

Stress is not something bad. It gives us energy and helps us survive and cope in a crisis. But it must be managed and kept in balance or we may become ill and find our relationships adversely affected.

Some suggestions for you to consider:

Vary your routine.

Have you ever wondered why you get tired after sitting all day? Your body needs a mixture of mental and physical tasks. When thinking exhausts you, take a break and do something physical.

Notice your attitude.

How do you look at adversity? Do you make a mountain out of a molehill? Or do you put things in perspective? Don’t take everything personally and ask yourself, “ Will this really matter in 20 years?”

Laugh more.

Say No.

Turning down a request is nearly impossible for some, but you have to do it occasionally or you’ll be constantly on the run. It will get easier with time.

Do One Thing at a Time.

Multi-tasking may sound good, but it depletes your energy.

Take care of problems and tasks immediately.

If you need to make an unpleasant phone call, do it now. Waiting will just add to your stress quotient. When the mail arrives, sift through it, file or pay the bills, toss or recycle garbage.

Talk out problems with friends or family.

Simplify.

All the date planners in the world aren’t going to erase stress if you’re doing too much.

Living with Chronic Pain

Treating chronic pain is difficult because there is no way to measure pain. What is an acceptable outcome for one person my not be acceptable for another. In addition to its toll on the body, unrelenting pain has a devastating effect on the emotions as well…typically producing a flood of anxiety, depression and anger.

People should realize they can be helped. They must also realize there must be some level of acceptance of the pain and, in spite of the pain, to get on with living their lives.

Pain is a physiological phenomenon, but it also causes strong emotional responses. A person who is in constant pain feels out of control. This leads to anxiety, depression and anger, which in turn can worsen the physical pain. To help regain control, people should first learn as much as they can about their illness and how they can help with their own medical regime. This usually involves changes in diet and lifestyle, plus learning about medications and stress control techniques.

Tips for People Who Live With Chronic Pain

  • Sleep and eat meals on a regular schedule. A good night’s sleep will not only make you feel better, you will find it easier stay involved with hobbies, outside interests and other people. Eat a balanced diet. Eat foods that provide limited calories with lots of nutrients, such as whole grain products, fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, low-fat daily products, etc.
  • Exercise. Ask your doctor for some appropriate exercises that can help you have more energy and sleep better.
  • Stop smoking and limit drinking. Drink alcoholic beverages in moderation, and if at all possible, stop smoking.
  • Develop a positive attitude. Focus on things you can do or would like to do, rather than the things you can’t.
  • Try something new. Choose activities you’re interested in or think you will like. Give yourself a chance to enjoy them, even if they’re hard at first.
  • Try volunteer work. It’s a great way to meet others and to give your life meaning.
  • Focus on something besides your pain. Turning your attention to other people or interests means you will have less attention to give to your own pain.
  • Pace yourself. Learn to take breaks and stop before your pain increases.

Other suggestions that can be helpful.

  • Support groups can help in overcoming feelings of isolation, of “I’m the only person in the world who has this problem.” You will not only find support, but you will be able to comfort others. People who live with chronic pain will often see themselves as not fulfilling some of the typical societal roles…they may be unable to work or go to school.
  • Relaxation/Visualization. Some people find these techniques to be very effective. Relaxation helps avert pain and makes medications more effective. These strategies also add to the sense of control, which decreases anxiety and fear.
  • Become involved in care. Being involved in the treatment process helps all patients, particularly children. Simple activities such as removing their own bandages help children to feel in control. Young children in particular often feel that they have “been bad” and that is why they are sick. Parents can be effective in countering these feelings by encouraging children to express their fears, such as acting them out with a doll. Also, don’t be afraid to reward children with stickers or small ways when they have coped well with a procedure or treatment.

Also frustrating are conditions like diabetes, asthma or digestive illnesses, which may flare up even when the person is following a strict program. That is why it is important to learn how to cope emotionally as well as physically.

It is difficult to live with chronic pain. The time-honored “stiff upper lip” approach is not really in a person’s best interests. Learning how to diffuse depression, anxiety and fear is critical, so the person does not become more limited than they absolutely have to be.