Managing Psoriasis Stress
According to the Psoriasis In America 2016 survey by plaquepsoriasis.com, 82% of respondents said that stress/anxiety was one of their top triggers for a psoriasis flare. Many experts will tell you to simply avoid the known things that trigger your psoriasis. Easier said than done.
I imagine it's incredibly rare for any adult, or even a child, to not have any stress in their life. There’s the daily grind of working and commuting or getting the kids out of the house in the morning or studying for mid-terms or another one of a million reasons. And then there’s the fact that a psoriasis flare itself can be an incredibly stressful time in your life, so it gets to be a vicious cycle. Stress is inevitable, but there are ways to decrease the amount that you’re feeling.
Let it out
Tell a friend or a therapist. Write about it. Scream about it. Punch a pillow. Stress will only build up and get worse if you don’t let out what you’re feeling anxious about. Vent to a trusted friend or family member about what’s bothering you. Or there are wonderful places online to connect with fellow psoriasis warriors who understand exactly what you’re going through. Find a group and let it out!
If you are feeling depressed or very anxious, talk to a therapist who can help manage that higher level of stress and provide coping tactics. Or let it all out in a journal, personal or online, which can also be an amazing tool for tracking how your symptoms are affected by stress and help identify the factors that are causing your stress. And sometimes it’s just incredibly therapeutic to just scream and punch a pillow (Not people. Only pillows please!).
Benefits of meditation can include clearing the mind or slowing down your thoughts to reduce anxiety. It’s incredibly easy to do and you only need a few minutes to get benefits from it. It can be done anywhere and you can do it independently or follow along with an app/website. Meditating before bed can also help you sleep better and a good night’s sleep helps your body fight inflammation.
Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphin’s make you happy. You know the rest. But it’s not just a line from a movie, it’s science. Exercising will not eliminate the external factors causing your stress, but the endorphin chemicals released can bring about feelings of euphoria and improve your mood. If you’re new to exercise, start slowly. If weather allows, get outside and simply take a walk. Or yoga is a great way to combine exercise and meditation, benefiting both your body and mind.
AVOID stress eating, boozing, smoking and other drugs
A good idea all the time, but these bad habits (yes, I’m including those binge cupcakes) will aggravate your psoriasis flare and contribute back to that vicious cycle we talked about earlier. (Note: My personal opinion is that cupcakes are fabulous in moderation, just don’t eat the whole batch. Trust me on that one!)
Do you anxiously anticipate a psoriasis relapse?