When you are under a lot of pressure and you feel like your on overload, stress and anxiety can hit you like a brick wall and weaken your body, physically and psychologically. But there are ways to help reduce and cope with stress so that your immune system does not become weaken, especially if you or one of your family members has allergies, asthma or any other chronic health problem.
It definitely affects your immune system and mental ability to cope. The pressure of the holidays with all the hustle and bustle, all the extra functions, parties, get together’s, and finding the time for all the extra chores can make you feel overloaded and overwhelmed. If you have asthma and/or allergies it can definitely effect and worsen your symptoms.
But help is on the way! I am going to give you some facts and tips that just might help you cope and manage your time so that you will not burn out and weaken your body. So set back and relax and take some notes!
The link between asthma, allergies, and stress has been recognized to affect your respiratory system. For instance, self-esteem issues, depression, anger, anxiety, illness, fatigue, and even side effects from medication can all affect your breathing and, sometimes, leave you wheezing. Your immune system weakens and your allergies or asthma symptoms can flare up leaving you feeling miserable and causing more stress. According to the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association in Boston, stress, anxiety can make allergy attack even more miserable and last longer.
In Columbus, Ohio a new study showed that even slight stress and anxiety can substantially worsen a person’s allergic reaction to some routine allergens and can cause the attack to linger and cause the second day of a stressed person symptoms to be much worse. Some data suggest that 38 percent of the people who suffer from allergic rhinitis also have asthma, and that 78 percent of asthma sufferers have allergic rhinitis.
Research at the Ohio State Medical Center showed that when testing for allergens people who were highly anxious had raised wheal that were twice as big after they were stressed compared to their response when they were not stressed. These same people were four times more likely to have a stronger reaction to the skin test one day later after the stress.
In asthma sufferers stress can create strong physiologic reactions that lead to airway constriction and changes in the immune system, which can worsen asthma symptoms. “The mechanism between asthma and anxiety is many-fold,” says Kelkar, a physician at Allergy and Asthma Care in Maple Grove, Minn. “Uncontrolled emotions can work the nerves and cause constriction of muscles, like the smooth muscles of the airways in the lungs. They tighten up and constrict, which can worsen wheezing, coughing, and chest tightness in people with asthma.” “Asthma is triggered by many things, and one of them is stress,” says Pramod Kelkar, MD, with the American Academy of Asthma Allergy and Immunology (AAAAI).
University of Texas in Houston who looked at this issue discovered that a variety of stress management techniques can help to control asthma symptoms. They presented information and suggestions that will help control stress at the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology annual meeting in the winter of 2010.
Let’s Start Managing Your Asthma, Allergies by Reducing your Stress:
Here are some simple coping tips you can do to manage your stress, anxiety levels and help keep your asthma and allergies under control:
1. Practice time management skills: To help you handle your responsibilities so you won’t feel so overwhelmed. Pace yourself. Get help with all the chores, get your kids to help with the housework and assign them certain duties that is their responsibility. Ask for help when you need it.
2. Take things slow and easy so you don’t get burned out too quickly and when you feel that you are becoming overwhelmed just— Stop and Relax, take short breaks to get yourself refreshed.
3. Use guided imagery: With guided imagery, you imagine yourself in any setting that helps you feel calm and relaxed. You can use audiotapes, books, or a teacher to guide you.
4. Get moving: Engaging in regular exercise and get outdoors to enjoy nature when possible, this is important to burn off stress.
5. Get plenty of sleep: When you’re well rested, it will be easier to deal with the demands of daily life. Try to keep a regular bedtime schedule and always avoid stressful situations close to going to sleep. As a result, you may find your asthma or allergies are more controlled.
6. Incorporate relaxation techniques into your daily routine. Practicing yoga, breathing exercises, and meditation which can be effective ways to reduce the tension on your mind and body caused by anxiety and stress. Listen to relaxing soothing music. Practice deep breathing and muscle relaxation techniques. Click here to learn some breathing and relaxation techniques. Try a relaxing massage — it is a great way to relax your muscles.
7. Eat a balanced diet: Stay away from processed sugar, caffeine, and alcohol—all of which can make your body feel short on energy and high on stress. When you limit empty calories and focus instead on eating plenty of lean protein, whole grains, and fruits and vegetables, you can help manage your daily stress level and feel your best. Eat organic foods as much as possible, the chemicals, pesticides and other contaminants can actually induce an allergy or asthma attack.
8. Take time for yourself: Go with a friend to shopping, lunch, or to a movie. Take time to laugh or even cry–it realizes emotions. Do something you enjoy such as writing, painting, gardening, a craft that they you enjoy, or even redecorating a room in your house. Just make sure that you take time to do some things that you enjoy!
9. Find time for your faith: Praying or going to church can be a big release for many people.
10. Realize your feelings: Talk to your spouse, a close friend, your clergyman, or a trained professional counselor about how you feel and ask them for ideas and help for whatever the problem might be. Keep a journal about how you feel it can help understand what might be triggering your reactions.
11. Take a long warm shower: Let the water run over your shoulders and neck to relax your muscles. It can relieve so much tension and be just what you need to release that anxiety.
12. Avoid Stressful Situations. If you know a certain relative or person really gets under your skin, stay away from them or if you have to see them keep your conversation short and brief. You can still be polite but avoid the stress.
Hopefully you will be able to add some these ideas into your daily routine and help control your stress that will in turn help manage your allergies and asthma. Just remember that while you’re not going to eliminate all stress, doctors say that the best thing you can do is to take steps to help keep it under control. You are the one that needs to take control of your life and health whether it is allergies, asthma or other health conditions. You need find what works for you and I would suggest you talk it over with your health care provider and ask their opinions. The holiday season and Christmas celebrations should be filled with joy — not having an asthma or severe allergy attack. I wish you and your families a happy and loving Christmas celebration.
Quote if the Day: Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas! - Calvin Coolidge