What We Already Knew: Reduce your Chronic Stress to Improve your Health

Stressed Out Man's Face

We probably already knew this, but a recent study confirms what I’ve always suspected: a link between chronic stress and chronic health issues. Here’s an excerpt:

“People who reported high levels of anger and anxiety after performing a laboratory-based stress task showed greater increases in a marker of inflammation, than those who remained relatively calm,” said Dr. Judith Carroll, who conducted the study at the University of Pittsburgh, in a press release from Elsevier, the publisher of the journal in which the research ran.

“This could help explain why some people with high levels of stress experience chronic health problems,” she added.

via Emotional Responses Can Lead to Chronic Health Problems.

Inflammation is the body’s response to illness, injury and stress, and increased inflammation creates an additional burden on the body. Generally, inflammation results in redness, heat and additional fluid in the injured area of the body.

As a non-specific immune response, it’s a sign that the body has ramped up its immune response to something – whether that’s a virus, a bruise, a bug bite or an allergic response. Stress can also be associated with a general inflammatory response.

I see this in clients under tremendous amounts of emotional stress from family obligations, job pressure, self-expectations, etc.  The longer a period of intense stress and emotional turmoil, the more likely I hear of chronic health issues developing.

What does this mean for you?  Take some time to relax each day.  It’s vital to carve out a few minutes for yourself everyday.  Of course, I suggest massage to Louisville and Nashville residents as a great way to destress and relax.  But even if you can’t get in to see a massage therapist, do some self massage on yourself or ask a friend/partner to work on you at the end of particularly stressful days.

Photo credit sxc.hu: matchstick

1 Comment »

  1. massage continuing ed said,

    March 9, 2011 at 11:27 am

    Thanks for this post about ways one might be able to reduce chronic stress. I think a number of people use massage therapy as a way to try to reduce chronic stress.

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