Is Stress Making You Sick?
Identify and Relieve Stress-Related Illnesses
By Jacqueline Sidman, PhD.
knows what stress feels like. Things seem out of control, your
reactions don’t fit your situation, your expectations are unmet, you
experience painful losses, you believe untruths about yourself, and
your emotions are toxic. But for some people, stress is a normal way
people spend their entire lives struggling with their own self-imposed
limitations, being frustrated and bound by them. While they have
dreams, they don’t always achieve them. Everything feels frustrating
and challenging, and nothing is ever good enough. When people don’t
achieve a solution to these inner struggles, internal conflicts create
stress, which can wear a person down to the point of physical and
emotional exhaustion. But can stress actually make a person physically
sick? Statistics reveal that stress actually causes eighty to ninety
percent of illnesses. Stress related illnesses can be anything that
make you miss a day of work, from a common cold to a migraine
headache. They may also be chronic and degenerative.
suspect stress has affected your health, consider the following
Does Stress Make You Sick?
of stress exist. The first is known as situational stress, and may be
caused by the weather, traffic, another person’s behavior, or some
other external factor. External stress cannot be controlled, and
doesn’t lead to illness.
the second form of stress can cause illness. This type is known as
internal stress, and is caused by reactions to external influences.
For example, if someone challenges or confronts you, like if another
driver cuts you off on the road, you may feel tense, irritable, or
angry. These negative reactions to the same triggers over and over
again are really over-reactions that increase over time and foster
stress originates from the conflict between your conscious and
subconscious mind. So while you may blame an external source for your
frustrations, your own interpretations are the underlying cause. While
no one ever chooses to be sick, the conflict between the conscious and
subconscious mind creates inner conflict, or stress, that may cause
the immune system to break down. This build up of tension also imposes
extreme stress on the internal organs, which can be converted to
physical or emotional illness.
the ailments that have been linked to stress include A.D.D. and
A.D.H.D., arthritis, allergies, asthma, cancer, chronic back problems,
chronic fatigue syndrome, colitis, cystic fibrosis, heart disease,
hypertension, migraine headaches, premenstrual syndrome, psoriasis,
strokes, ulcers, and many others. Not every illness is caused solely
by stress, but an emotional component is often part of the problem.
Your Ailment Stress-Related?
symptoms of stress may be that you’re tired all the time, you’re
unable to sleep, you experience chronic back pain, and you don’t
feel like leaving the house or doing the things you used to enjoy. You
should be aware of your lifestyle, how your body feels, and what’s
not working for you.
you’re diagnosed with a stress-related illness and prescribed
traditional medication, you should integrate some stress management as
part of your treatment. A physician will always tell you to improve
your lifestyle, get enough sleep, eat healthier, and if they know you
work in a high-stress profession, they’ll tell you to pace yourself.
Medical professionals understand that external pressure causes
internal organs to tighten up, and when this happens the body
doesn’t function properly. While traditional medicine can
effectively alleviate the symptoms of many illnesses, you must also
address the stress component.
Can You Do To Relieve Stress-Related Illness?
If you can
free yourself of this internal tension, your body will return to its
natural healthy state. You have the ability to be at peace. To achieve
inner peace, addressing and relieving the tension will bring your body
and mind into harmony. When your subconscious and conscious are in
conflict, that’s when the stress related ailments develop. When you
are overwhelmed by failing to control uncontrollable outside
influences, lack of hope surrenders to defeat and the body permits
illness to enter. To free yourself from stress, follow these
If you suffer from stress-related illnesses, look at the
way you’re treating your body. Are you eating wholesome, nutritious
foods? How much alcohol and caffeine are you using? Take a look at the
substances you’re putting in your body and how you’re moderating
Next look at how you’re balancing your time. Are you
balancing your time at work with time doing things you enjoy? Are you
allowing yourself time to rest, meditate, and enjoy your life? Do
something that pleases you to counterbalance some of the stress in
Another way to relieve stress is to look at your general
development. Do you tend to go along with the crowd when it doesn’t
please you, such as going to a rock concert when you really prefer
jazz? If so, then why do you go at all? Go where you like to be.
Develop your creative side. Take up an activity that
allows you to express your innermost feelings, such as writing,
painting, taking a crafting class, or playing a musical instrument.
Believe it or not, people who do manual labor for a living often
experience less stress because they are constantly active and
relieving their tension. So find something to do with yourself that
makes you less uptight.
Relief in the Future: While
stress is part of life, excessive stress can have detrimental effects
on your health. When you let tension build up in your body, your
internal organs can tighten up and actually stop functioning properly.
Stress can also weaken the immune system and allow illness to take
over the body. Many common ailments have been linked to stress, and
for optimal health, stress relief should supplement traditional forms
in activities, even simple things, that you enjoy can relieve tension
and help your body return to a healthy state. By reducing the amount
of stress you experience, the quality of your life improves, and you
gain a wonderful attitude. When you have a wonderful attitude, your
life becomes enjoyable.
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about Jacqueline Sidman, PhD.
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