Coping With a Stressful Health Condition? Here’s What You Need to Do

We all deal with one form of illness or another throughout our lives or see our loved ones battling one.  Over the years, with the advancement of medical science, the adverse effects of many diseases have been considerably minimized, with discoveries taking place regularly. If it is a relatively common illness or condition, the stress associated is often less due to a favorable prognosis. However, dealing with significant health issues and chronic diseases can increase stress levels drastically for the patients and their families.

Stress itself can be a silent killer for those suffering from long-term or complex ailments. Not only does it wreak havoc on your immune system, but being under stress all the time can cause functional damage to various organs. Your kidneys, liver, and heart are the most crucial organs that are greatly affected by stress. Moreover, two vital hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, are released in excessive amounts due to stress and bring out symptoms like heart pounding and quicker respiratory rate. This effect, known as flight or fight response, is the body’s normal reaction to fear or danger and is expected when experiencing a difficult situation. Therefore, it is crucial to put in efforts to minimize the level of stress and anxiety.

Now, let’s discuss how you can effectively cope with a complex or chronic health condition.

Understand the Condition Well

One might not fully comprehend a health problem unless they belong to the medical profession, but having considerable knowledge about the illness is always recommended. For instance, if you or someone you know struggles with addiction, learning about recovery options will set one on the path to sobriety. It involves understanding the condition itself, identifying the symptoms, and discussing the treatment options available to you. Therefore, one should never hesitate when asking questions about their well-being from their doctor or health advisor.

While learning about a critical or life-threatening disease may cause more anxiety, it is always better to know more than knowing less. It enables one to ensure prompt action if any emergency arises. Medical associations or people experiencing similar conditions are a great way to gain knowledge conveniently. However, one should never forget that two patients suffering from the same illness will not necessarily have the same experiences. Therefore, always discuss with your practitioner to devise a treatment plan that best suits your diagnosis.

Practice Self-Management

Pay attention to any changes that you may experience in your body and keep a check on your vitals. It would be wise and preferable to invest in a few essential homemedical tools like a digital thermometer, glucometer, and blood pressure machine. Keeping a medical diary or mobile phone reminder would help keep track of your symptoms and ensure that you follow your treatment plan timely. On your next visit, raise any new concerns or differences that you have observed.

When learning to self-manage your condition, several healthcare workshops teach practical techniques to minimize or help control the adverse effects until medical attention is available. These programs aim to educate the patient on better lifestyle habits, methods to improve relaxation, distressing techniques, and much more.


Make Lifestyle Changes

As chronic health conditions already put immense strain on your physical health and immune system, eliminating other harmful habits is necessary to achieve balance. Besides, we cannot emphasize the importance of sleep cycles and patterns enough. According to the American Sleep Association (ASA), around 50-70 million adults suffer from one form of sleeping disorder or another. Various studies show that sleep deprivation is a common health issue faced by people of all ages. It is highly related to the rise in chronic illnesses like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and kidney failure. Correcting your sleep schedule will have a positive impact on your organs and will assist in reducing stress and anxiety.

Other lifestyle changes would require one to eliminate or considerably diminish the use of tobacco, alcohol, and any drugs that a person may have a habit of consuming. Increasing the intake of healthy food options like fresh fruits and vegetables and incorporating mild forms of exercise like walking and stretching can boost the overall well-being.

Find Support

World Health Organization (WHO) indicates more than 264 million people experience or suffer from depression worldwide. Any situation involving high levels of stress can negatively affect a person’s attitude and frame of mind. The role of the family is of utmost importance when dealing with a chronic illness. Family members help monitor our health, assist in everyday tasks, and are also the prime source of emotional support.

One thing the COVID 19 pandemic has taught us is not to take our mental health for granted. Many health and welfare organizations have introduced online support programs to reduce isolation and loneliness while encouraging people to seek help quickly. Communicating with people going through similar issues or finding a support group can prove beneficial for your mental health. It helps people experience a sense of togetherness and belonging when connecting with people who can relate to them. A health support group is thus an excellent way to have a more positive outlook towards life.

Enjoy Simple Joys of Life

Invest your time in meaningful activities, from having quality time with friends and family to favorite hobbies like sketching or gardening. Involving techniques such as yoga, body massage, aromatherapy, and acupuncture into your daily life is another way of reducing stress and promoting peaceful sleep. According to a medical expert, Jane Ehrman, meditation helps reduce chronic pain and inflammation while boosting concentration levels. Music as a form of therapy has also gained importance for reducing episodes of depression in people.

Even having a good hearty laugh encourages the release of serotonin and endorphins – the happy hormones. Laughter helps stimulate the blood flow and helps your body in muscle relaxation. Therefore, exploring new and old activities that appeal to you or promote happiness isa great way to enrich and improve the quality of your life.

Final Thoughts

Coping with an ongoing, chronic illness is undoubtedly challenging, and it takes a massive toll on your mental health. Whether you are suffering from a long-term ailment or a family member, minimizing factors that elevate the stress levels is necessary.

Even though it may be your physical body that is experiencing the issue, it is very likely to fall into mental health issues like depression and anxiety. Therefore, a person must seek out information and emotional support from their trusted doctor and loved ones in such circumstances.


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