Stress And Allergies – What To Do About It
Investing in an air purifier and developing good cleaning techniques will help reduce allergy symptoms. However, there is one
thing we are forgetting to talk about… stress.Your allergies will be affected in a big way by your reactions to stressful situations!
Now none of us are able to avoid stress entirely. As we know that is the reality of being a human being. But there are ways that we can manage stress and recognize when it is becoming a problem.
Whatever your situation is the facts of will remain the same. The more stress you are under, the worse your allergies will become. In this article, I will let you know how stress affects both allergies and asthma, and how to manage it when you need to.
Click on the chart below to skip ahead to read an individual question, or continue on to read the whole review.
Why Does Stress Affect Allergies?
Do you ever notice the sensations in your body when you are feeling stressed? It might be a tightening of the stomach, increased heart rate or pressure headaches. Stress does not just affect our minds, our bodies react to it physiologically as well…
Of course, it makes sense that allergic reactions and asthma are negatively affected. Stress amongst many other things weakens the immune system. This makes you more vulnerable to be affected by health related issues. ANY health related issue… not just allergies.
The vicious cycle is that you may find yourself in a stressful situation. You then develop more allergic symptoms. As a result of this, you are again more stressed out and frustrated about your health.
I will try not to dwell too much on the negatives of the situation. We all know that stress is bad for us, so let’s focus on how to manage it…
The good news is that there are many effective ways to reduce the stress in your life. Certain techniques work better for some than others. You will just have to see what is best for you and stick to it. You can try one or all of these in a combination.
How Do I Relieve Stress?
Identify the situation
This first tip may be a bit obvious… you really need to identify the situation that is causing you worry. It may be at work, school, a relationship or even things you need to get done around the house. We all react differently in a given situation, so just be honest with yourself about what is causing the problem.
Once you have figured out what is bothering you ask yourself one simple question. Am I able to make a change to rid myself of this stress?
Sometimes it is just a matter of taking yourself out of the environment that is causing you stress. It may be a relatively easy fix of shifting a few things around. But you are thinking it is not worth the trouble. If it is this simple, then just get it done!
However, you may be in a situation where you cannot just remove yourself from the problem. I was once in a job where I really didn’t get along with my boss… He was very negative and a bit of a bully. This would cause me daily stress. But it wasn’t on the cards for me to quit because I had to pay the bills. So I had to find ways to relieve the stress while dealing with a hostile environment.
If you are in a similar situation to the one I described, then try some of the techniques below…
Really I cannot recommend this relaxation technique highly enough!! I have practiced meditation for the last 3-4 years and it has dramatically decreased my stress levels!
You do not have to be a Hindu or Buddhist to practice. You do not have to be spiritual either… Meditation is a practice that has been scientifically proven to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Some people even use it for pain relief. Yes you can
reduce pain by the power of your mind!
Many of the techniques of meditation are very simple. It would almost seem silly to think this would make any difference at all. But this has been proven over many decades of scientific research.
There are many ways to learn this practice. You can do a course at a local meditation center. This is easy enough to google. There are CD’s and audio files that provide guided meditations that are simple to follow. If you are curious and want to just dip your toe in the water, try the headspace app. It is the most popular mindfulness meditation app and is very helpful!
Another great way to lower your stress levels is to get active. Exercise is proven to help manage stress and relax your mind.
Exercise will help your body to create the feel-good chemicals called endorphins. When you work your body physically you can feel the difference. You will have to concentrate if you are playing a sport and this gives you less time to think. In a stressful situation, this can be a really good thing! We can often overthink situations leaving us worried about problems that don’t exist. Exercise will help you to sleep better and deeper, which is crucial in managing stress.
As a bonus, it is always nice to take your frustrations out on something. Playing a sport that gives you a release will go a long way to managing your stress.
If you would like to know more about this, please read this article about exercise and stress relief published by Harvard Medical School.
Talk To Others
Humans are a social species. But when we are going through a stressful time it is sometimes our instinct to spend a lot of time alone. It is difficult to make an effort with conversations and general socializing while you are worried. This is when we lock ourselves in our rooms and stew over the problems… We are ALL guilty of this!
This is one of the worst things that we can do in this situation! Sharing your problems with friends or family can really help to relieve stress. You will get different perspectives and a sympathetic ear. If you don’t feel like talking about it, just having social contact will help you to ease your worries.
In our generation, sleep is sometimes looked at as an unnecessary luxury. On average, we all sleep a lot less than we did 20 years ago. The cause of this can be a number of factors. But the fact of the matter is, without good rest, we do not function properly. Not getting enough sleep will make you more stressed!!
There are an incredible amount of benefits to your health that a good night’s rest will give you!
How much sleep you need varies from person to person. Personally, I need 7-8 hours per night or I will not be feeling great. Some people need more, and others less. You will know individually how much sleep you need and when you are not getting enough.
If we are stressed, naturally it is more difficult for us to rest. Anyone who has sat an important exam or is nervous about a job interview can testify to this. This is why you need to make the time to rest properly. There are only so many hours in the day that we can be productive. So make sleep a priority when you are feeling stressed.
If you look at things like mental and physical health, work/study productivity, ability to exercise… all of them are negatively affected by a lack of sleep. So get your ZZZs!
This might seem like a silly one, but laughing is actually a proven stress-relieving technique. I have tried this one personally and it helps me a lot! Laughing will lower your levels of cortisol. This is the chemical that your body produces when you are stressed.
Personally, I get on youtube and watch a clip from a stand-up comedian that I like. Just something that will make you physically laugh will lower you stress… If you have a favorite film or are lucky enough to have a funny friend, just do something to get you laughing!!
Managing your allergies or asthma can be a battle! So try not to let stress get in the way of the lifestyle you want to achieve. Make the effort to manage the stress in your life and you allergic or asthmatic symptoms will improve…
If you are interested in air purifiers, have a look at my article explaining all you will need to know about air purifiers. For a large area coverage, have a look at Austin Air Purifiers, for a very quiet machine, Blueair Air Purifiers, or for cheap but effective products, check out Winix Air Purifiers or the Honeywell 50250-S.
Try the techniques that I explained and find the ones that you feel are the best. Stress will always be a part of our lives, but there are ways to manage it so it does not take over. This requires an investment of time and energy. I call it an investment because it will pay off over the long run! Good luck!