If you have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, then you are most likely sick and tired of all the pain and other symptoms. You deal with backaches, chronic headaches, and much more. That has likely begun to take a toll on you. Additionally, there are certain physical, environmental, and even emotional factors that can contribute to you fibromyalgia flare-ups. Learn what your triggers are and how you can work to avoid them.
Stress as a Trigger for Fibromyalgia
Often, a little bit of stress in our lives can be a good thing. After all, without it, we would never get anything done, right? Our work would simply keep piling up on our desks. The dishes would be left dirty in the sink. The poor dog would never get taken out on his daily walk. However, there are times that stress in our lives can become unhealthy. If you have fibromyalgia, stress is definitely something that you must monitor so that you can avoid triggering a flare-up of your symptoms.
Research has shown that one of the major things that can trigger a fibromyalgia flare-up is emotional factors such as stress. Episodes of extreme emotional anxiety and stress can cause headaches, muscle pains, and can even trigger anxiety attacks.
Even external stressors such as bright lights or loud noises can trigger the symptoms of fibromyalgia. It is unclear why exactly individuals with fibromyalgia react so negatively with stress. It could be because the stress actually causes our bodies to release specific hormones which can interfere with the perception of pain in those with fibromyalgia. The other school of thought is that the stress actually increases soreness and muscle tension.
In order to keep your symptoms of fibromyalgia from flaring up, you should find ways to limit the amount of stress in your life. Take regular breaks from both your work and your home life and see what you can do about reducing your workload at the office. Learn meditation and take part in a regular exercise program so that you can have an outlet for that extra energy that you have from time to time or a way to release the stress.
Tips for Stress Management and Emotional Health
#1- Avoid Stress that is Unnecessary
Know that you’re not going to be able to avoid all stress- and besides, it’s not healthy to avoid a situation that you need to address. However, you may actually be surprised by what you can actually eliminate.
- Learn the word “NO”- know what your limits are and set boundaries
- Avoid those that cause you stress- If there’s someone always causing drama and stress, get them out of your life for good.
- Be in control of your surroundings- If there’s something in your surroundings that causes you stress, get rid of it.
- Avoid those “hot-button” topics- If there’s something that upsets you to discuss, then don’t discuss it.
#2- Change Your Situation
If there is a situation that is stressful that you simply can’t avoid- figure out what you can do to change it. More often than not, this involves a change in the way that you operate in daily life as well as your communication skills.
- Don’t bottle up your feelings, express them- If there is something grating on your nerves, communicate your concerns.
- Learn to compromise- When you ask others to change, you must be willing to make a few changes too- this will help you to find that middle ground.
- Learn to be assertive- Deal with any issues head on- don’t take a backseat.
- Learn time management skills- Improperly managing time can cause you to experience lots of stress- plan ahead and don’t overextend yourself.
If you’re not able to change the thing that is causing you stress, then make some changes yourself. Adapt to the situation and regain control.
- Change your perspective- Learn to view the stressful situations from a perspective that is much more positive.
- Focus on the big picture- Again, change your perspective- will the situation be an issue in the long run?
- Change your standards- When you’re a perfectionist, you are setting yourself up for failure- set reasonable expectations for yourself.
#4- Accept What You Can’t Change
There are some things that will cause you stress that you just can’t avoid. In these cases, you should learn to accept things as they come. Though acceptance of a situation can be difficult, in the long run it’s much easier than fighting against a situation.
- Don’t be controlling- There are some things in life that are going to be beyond your control- focus on what you can control, such as your response to these things.
- Look on the bright side- Know that every cloud truly does have a silver lining- look for it and use the challenges of life to grow.
- Talk about things- Find someone you trust or see a professional therapist- sometimes just talking about what is stressing you out can help.
- Forgive- Accept that no one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes at some point- let go of the resentment and anger.
#5- Have Fun and Relax
Go beyond taking charge and having a positive attitude. Know that you can reduce the stress in your life by simply taking time to take care of yourself. If you allow yourself time to have fun and relax, you’ll be better able to deal with the stressors as they come.
- Set aside time to relax- Allow some time in your day to include some rest and relaxation- don’t let other things encroach on this time.
- Make some connections- Spend time with those who make your life better- having a strong support system around you will help to reduce the effects of stress
- Have a sense of humor- Learn how to laugh (even at yourself) – this can help your body fight off the negative effects of stress.
#6- Be Healthy
A great way to reduce the effects of stress on your life and body is to be healthy.
Get regular exercise- Take at least 30 minutes three times a week to exercise- aerobics are great for releasing that tension and stress you have bottled up inside.
Eat healthy- Bodies that are getting proper nourishment are better able to handle stress.
Reduce sugar/caffeine intake- The “highs” that come with sugar and caffeine are short lived and usually end up with a crash in your energy and mood- by reducing these, you’ll feel much better and get better sleep.
Avoid drugs, alcohol, and even cigarettes- These may be an “easy” escape from the stress, but this relief is only temporary.
Get proper sleep- Getting the proper amount and quality of sleep will refresh your mind and body- when you feel tired, your stress is increased.