A few weeks back, I read an article on how stress makes us sick. I spotted the article right after I'd made yet another trip to my doc to complain of aches, pains, stiffness and low-grade nausea. And he gave me what I thought was his automatic response - "It's stress." But then I read this article, which gave me something to think about.
Stress triggers the immune system. The immune system starts its repairs by causing inflammation around the injury. When there is no particular injury, only stress, that inflammation can occur anywhere and everywhere. So that explains why I need extra sleep and have more aches and pains after a convention or a tight deadline or when I don't seem to get anything on my to-do list done.
As an introvert, spending 3 days surrounded by other people at a convention is a big stressor. I sometimes retreat to a solitary place to recharge my batteries, but maybe what I'm really doing is trying to tamp down my stress. A looming deadline can be a whole heap of stress. A missed deadline effects my professional reputation, and could effect my earnings. Yikes!
The article said that people who have an active 'emotion center' have more issues with stress-itis than those who don't. No, I don't cry over every little thing that doesn't go my way, but I do have active emotions. I have worked hard to develop resiliency when receiving rejections of my work. But if my husband says something that I perceive as negative, my mood goes into a tailspin. Stress. Inflammation. Aches, pain, stiffness.
Happily, simply changing my reaction can help me release the stress and avoid the related illnesses. Keeping my mind on things not related to my situation, recognizing and labeling my negative emotions, even venting will help. I've been trying to do that, these past few weeks, and all in all, I think I've been feeling better. Yes, I've had some bad days, but not as many as before.
What stresses you out? How do you react to it?