OUCH! My shoulder hurts while I type. The pain of stress calls itself out from my bones. It says, "Hello! You are Stressed! Chill OUT!"
People say that Moving, Changing Jobs, or Having a Baby are major life events that cause stress and in my case, I've chosen to do all three together! I must not be the only one as it is common to choose to move to a larger space to accommodate a growing family in preparation for the birth of a new baby and with that the change from full-time employment to full-time mom with half the income (if you are lucky). I suppose its how we handle stress that makes all the difference.
Do people with Rheumatoid Arthritis handle stress differently than those who don't?
I wrote a post last Aug 2011 on Psychoneuroimmunology, which is the the study of the interaction between psychological processes and the nervous and immune systems of the human body. I truly think people with RA, like myself, internalize the stress and we keep going, ignoring the cries until our bodies, shout "STOP!" . In some ways, stress becomes a norm, and a driver and to live without it would simply be unusual rather than bliss.
Another book, I found helpful, Waking Tiger by Peter Levine. He suggests that when animals experience stress and trauma, it shakes it out by trembling. Though we as humans may not "shake it out" we still need to let it out somehow. For me, writing helps. Some rather talk it out, shout it out, sing it out, paint it out, walk it out, whatever, all I'm saying is LET IT OUT!
I'm probably not the best person to seek advice on stress relief as I would not be up and writing this blog otherwise; however from my experience, I can tell you what NOT TO DO:
1. Do Not Keep Stress Hidden Inside
I often thought a person with good stress management skills will never appear to be stressed. Well that's BS! Managing stress does not mean hiding stress, it means finding ways to mitigate, relieve and release the stress and all that can only be possible by first listening and acknowledging that we are stressed.
2. Do Not Pretend Everything is OK
Like #1, we can hide the stress and pretend that everything is ok. In other words, we ignore the stress on our minds, body and spirit, and allowing it to sink deeper and deeper.
3. Do Not Substitute Stress with other Stressful Activities
It's easy to switch our minds on someone else's stressful situation rather than paying attention to our own. This can lead to more stress! We all have our loads to carry, so before we aspire to help someone else's with their load(s), lets learn to carry our own with confidence and ease.