Lymphedema and Stress

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Lymphedema and Stress

Postby patoco » Sun Jun 11, 2006 9:46 pm

Lymphedema and Stress

Our Home Page: Lymphedema People

www.lymphedemapeople.com

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Lymphedema and Stress

Many have asked does stress affect or make lymphedema worse? This Christmas season, it seems so many of us have been sick not just with the flu or colds, but also with a tremendous amount of cellulitis, accidents, injuries and a host of other illness that has made it a dificult time for us.

In addition, we deal with a condition that in and of itself creates a tremendous amount of stress. Its frustrating living with it day to day, frustrating in trying to get a proper diagnosis treatment and can be maddening in finding help for the complications that come along with it.

So, we need to understand three things:

1.) Hope to cope with stress

Can we go beyond just coping and surviving? How to manage stress so that we can actually be happy and at peace inside.

2.) How stress can affect us physically

Weakens the immune system, makes us more susceptible to infections and other illnesses. Causative factor in conditions such as cardiovascular disorders, uclers, high blood pressure, chronic fatigue.

3.) How stress affects us phsychologically

Emotionally - anxiety, depression, hopelessness,tension or anger.

The way we think - poor concentration, forgetfulness, indecisiveness, apathy or hopelessness. In our anger and anxiety we may even slash out at those who are closest to us an who are trying the most to help.

Behaviourally - increased drinking and smoking, insomnia, accident proneness, weight problems, obsessive compulsive behaviour or nervousness, gambling.

In addition to the information below, I always like to remember the Serenity Prayer. Read it, think about what it is saying and how it applies in our day to day life. Make it a part of your mind, attitude and heart...it really does help.

The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Amen.
--Reinhold Niebuhr

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Stress - Coping With Everyday Problems

Stress is a natural part of life. The expressions are familiar to us, “I’m stressed out,” “I’m under too much stress,” or “Work is one big stress.”

Stress is hard to define because it means different things to different people; however, it’s clear that most stress is a negative feeling rather than a positive feeling.

Stress can be both physical and mental.

You may feel physical stress which is the result of too much to do, not enough sleep, a poor diet or the effects of an illness. Stress can also be mental: when you worry about money, a loved one’s illness, retirement, or experience an emotionally devastating event, such as the death of a spouse or being fired from work.

However, much of our stress comes from less dramatic everyday responsibilities. Obligations and pressures which are both physical and mental are not always obvious to us. In response to these daily strains your body automatically increases blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, metabolism, and blood flow to you muscles. This response, is intended to help your body react quickly and effectively to a high-pressure situation.

However, when you are constantly reacting to stressful situations without making adjustments to counter the effects, you will feel stress which can threaten your health and well-being.

It is essential to understand that external events, no matter how you perceive those events which may cause stress. Stress often accompanies the feeling of “being out of control.”

How do I know if I am suffering from stress?

Remember, each person handles stress differently. Some people actually seek out situations which may appear stressful to others. A major life decision, such as changing careers or buying a house, might be overwhelming for some people, while others may welcome the change. Some find sitting in traffic too much to tolerate, while others take it in stride. The key is determining your personal tolerance levels for stressful situations.

Stress can cause physical, emotional and behavioral disorders which can affect your health, vitality, peace-of-mind, as well as personal and professional relationships. Too much stress can cause relatively minor illnesses like insomnia, backaches, or headaches, and can contribute to potentially life-threatening diseases like high blood pressure and heart disease.

Tips for reducing or controlling stress

As you read the following suggestions, remember that success will not come from a half hearted effort, nor will it come overnight. It will take determination, persistence and time. Some suggestions may help immediately, but if your stress is chronic, it may require more attention and/or lifestyle changes. Determine YOUR tolerance level for stress and try to live within these limits. Learn to accept or change stressful and tense situations whenever possible.

Be realistic. If you feel overwhelmed by some activities (yours and/or your family’s), learn to say NO! Eliminate an activity that is not absolutely necessary. You may be taking on more responsibility than you can or should handle. If you meet resistance, give reasons why you’re making the changes. Be willing to listen to other’s suggestions and be ready to compromise.

Shed the “superman/superwoman” urge. No one is perfect, so don’t expect perfection from yourself or others. Ask yourself, “What really needs to be done?” How much can I do? Is the deadline realistic? What adjustments can I make?” Don’t hesitate to ask for help if you need it.

Meditate. Just ten to twenty minutes of quiet reflection may bring relief from chronic stress as well as increase your tolerance to it. Use the time to listen to music, relax and try to think of pleasant things or nothing.

Visualize. Use your imagination and picture how you can manage a stressful situation more successfully. Whether it’s a business presentation or moving to a new place, many people feel visual rehearsals boost self-confidence and enable them to take a more positive approach to a difficult task.

Take one thing at a time. For people under tension or stress, an ordinary workload can sometimes seem unbearable. The best way to cope with this feeling of being overwhelmed is to take one task at a time. Pick one urgent task and work on it. Once you accomplish that task, choose the next one. The positive feeling of “checking off” tasks is very satisfying. It will motivate you to keep going.

Exercise. Regular exercise is a popular way to relieve stress. Twenty to thirty minutes of physical activity benefits both the body and the mind.

Hobbies. Take a break from your worries by doing something you enjoy. Whether it’s gardening or painting, schedule time to indulge your interest.

Healthy life style. Good nutrition makes a difference. Limit intake of caffeine and alcohol (alcohol actually disturbs regular sleep patterns), get adequate rest, exercise, and balance work and play.

Share your feelings. A conversation with a friend lets you know that you are not the only one having a bad day, caring for a sick child or working in a busy office. Stay in touch with friends and family. Let them provide love, support and guidance. Don’t try to cope alone.

Give in occasionally. Be flexible! If you find you’re meeting constant opposition in either your personal or professional life, rethink your position or strategy. Arguing only intensifies stressful feelings. If you know you are right, stand your ground, but do so calmly and rationally. Make allowances for other’s opinions and be prepared to compromise. If you are willing to give in, others may meet you halfway. Not only will you reduce your stress, you may find better solutions to your problems.

Go easy with criticism. You may expect too much of yourself and others. Try not to feel frustrated, let down, disappointed or even “trapped” when another person does not measure up. The “other person” may be a wife, a husband, or child whom you are trying to change to suit yourself. Remember, everyone is unique, and has his or her own virtues, shortcomings, and right to develop as an individual.

Where to Get Help

Help may be as close as a friend or spouse. But if you think that you or someone you know may be under more stress than just dealing with a passing difficulty, it may be helpful to talk with your doctor, spiritual advisor, or employee assistance professional. They may suggest you visit with a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, or other qualified counselor.

Ideas to consider when talking with a professional:

List the things which cause stress and tension in your life.
How does this stress and tension affect you, your family and your job?

Can you identify the stress and tensions in your life as short or long term?

Do you have a support system of friends/family that will help you make positive changes?

What are your biggest obstacles to reducing stress?

What are you willing to change or give up for a less stressful and tension-filled life?

What have you tried already that didn’t work for you?

If you do not have control of a situation, can you accept it and get on with your life?

Other Resources:

For additional resources, please call 1-800-969-NMHA

http://www.nmha.org/infoctr/factsheets/41.cfm

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Which of these is stress?

You receive a promotion at work.

Your car has a flat tire.

You go to a fun party that lasts till 2:00 a.m.

Your dog gets sick.

Your new living-room set is being delivered.

Your Uncle and Aunt come to stay at your house for a week.

You get a bad case of cough and cold.

All of the above

All of these are stress.

If you are used to thinking that stress is something that makes you worry, you have the wrong idea of stress. Stress is many different kinds of things: happy things, sad things, allergic things, physical things. Many people carry enormous stress loads and they do not even realize it!

This series of fortnightly articles explains how you can manage stress effectively.

Understanding Stress

Sources of Stress (Part I)

Sources of Stress (Part II)

Symptoms of Stress

Recognizing the Optimum Stress Bracket

Maintaining a stress diary

Over the Cliff (Part I)

Over the Cliff (Part II)

Action Plan

Breathing

Progressive Muscular Relaxation

Imagery

Click on the link for a 13 page article on Stress Management

http://www.twilightbridge.com/stress/co ... 1index.htm

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Coping With Stress

What is stress?

Stress is defined as any change that you must adapt to in our ever changing world. In particular, stress is any demand (force, pressure, strain) placed on the body and the body’s reaction to it. Stress is experienced by everyone who is living, working, and breathing at this very moment. It is a fact of life you cannot avoid. Stress, itself, ranges in intensity from the negative extreme of being in physical danger to the joy of completing a desired goal. All stress is not bad. It is important to identify how you respond to stressful events.

This will determine the impact that these experiences have on your life.

Assess your current stressors and explore ways that you respond to them.

Generate a list of current events that produce stress in your life.
(i.e., moved to new location, work or school demands, balancing priorities, job promotion)

Brainstorm how you cope with stressful experiences. Assess if you have a healthy or unhealthy coping style. For example:

Healthy Coping Styles Unhealthy Coping Styles

-exercise -alcohol or drug use
-down time for selfcare -avoidance of event
-balancing work and play -procrastination
-time management- initiate schedule -overeating

After identifying stressors and coping styles, you can begin to modify your behavior.

Be aware of your physiological and emotional reaction to stress.

Recognize what you can change (your reactions to stress, internal thoughts).

Utilize healthy coping skills.

Incorporate good coping skills into your repertoire, increasing your options.

Practice healthy coping skills daily even when intense stress is not present (this prepares you for times when you may feel overwhelmed).

RELAXATION TECHNIQUES

Recognize what activities you consider relaxing.

Be specific when exploring your options:

–going for walks
–meeting with friends
–reading for pleasure
–listening to music
–taking a bath

Be realistic about the amount of time that you can dedicate to "downtime".

This time should be incorporated into your daily routine.

Remember this is called BALANCE- not be used as a procrastination tactic.

Begin practicing relaxation techniques
–meditation
–guided imagery
–deep breathing exercises
–progressive relaxation (muscle relaxation)

Decide which relaxation technique works for you and practice daily.
Find several techniques that work for you so you have an array of options.

STRESS MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES

BODY:

Along with improving your ability to relax, you must assess diet and other strains on your body.

Aerobic exercise can reduce anxiety up to 50%.

Good nutrition (a well balanced diet) will improve your ability to appropriately respond to stress.

Get an adequate amount of rest each night.

Reducing caffeine intake will help you manage your anxiety (2 ½ cups of coffee doubles the epinephrine level).

Smoking cessation is important, as nicotine is also a stimulant.

Biofeedback techniques can help up to 80% of migraine sufferers.

Acupuncture has also shown promise.

MIND:

If you have multiple stressors (deadlines, increased responsibilities), you must prioritize your time.

Initiating a time management schedule remains a positive way to reduce stress and anxiety.

Break large demands into small, manageable parts. Work through one task at a time.

Do what needs to be done first, leaving other things for tomorrow.

Identify your goals and work toward them.

Take direct action when stress arises- identify your needs and articulate them; Be intentional about what you can do.

Acknowledge your thoughts and feelings concerning the stressors in your life.

Develop a support network to rely on in times of need.

Remember to be kind to yourself and not dwell on the "shoulds".

RECOMMENDED READINGS:

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…and It’s All Small Stuff New York, NY: Hyperion, 1997. Carson, R.

The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook Oakland, CA: New Harbinger, 1988. Davis, M., Eshelman, E., & McCay, M.

http://www.uiowa.edu/~ucs/copstress.html

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How Stress Affects the Immune System

We have known for some time that stress affects our immune systems. Many studies have shown that stress can suppress the immune system, but other studies have shown boosts in the immune system under stress. A July 2004 meta-analysis of 293 studies conducted over the past 30 years puts the pieces of the puzzle together. Psychologists Suzanne Segerstrom, Ph.D., and Gregory Miller, Ph.D. found the following:

Stress does indeed affect the immune system in powerful ways.

Short-term stressors boost the immune system.
It seems that the "fight or flight" response prompts the immune system to ready itself for infections resulting from bites, punctures, scrapes or other challenges to the integrity of the body.

Chronic, long-term stress suppresses the immune system

The longer the stress, the more the immune system shifted from they adaptive changes seen in the "fight or flight" response to more negative changes, first at the cellular level and later in broader immune function. The most chronic stressors – stress that seems beyond a person's control or seems endless – resulted in the most global suppression of immunity. Almost all measures of immune system function dropped across the board.

The immune systems of the elderly or those already sick are more subject to stress-related changes.

In reaching these conclusions the authors looked at the effects of the various stressors on different immune responses, such as “natural” and “specific” immunity. They summarized the results of the studies that looked at each of these types of stress:

Natural immunity produces quick-acting, all-purpose cells that can attack many pathogens; they bring fever and inflammation.

The body takes a few days to mount a more specific attack on particular invaders with specific immunity. This response includes lymphocytes (T-cells and B cells). Specific immunity has both cellular responses, which fight pathogens that get inside cells (such as viruses), and humoral responses, which fight pathogens that stay outside cells, such as bacteria and parasites. Segerstrom and Miller were able to assess how different types of immune response correlated with different types of stress because researchers have identified the blood markers of these different immune responses.

They divided stressors into different types:

Acute time-limited stressors: lab challenges such as public speaking or mental math.

Brief naturalistic stressors: real-world challenges such as academic tests.

Stressful event sequences: a focal event such as loss of a spouse or major natural disaster gives rise to a series of related challenges that people know at some point will end.

Chronic stressors: pervasive demands that force people to restructure their identity or social roles, without any clear end point – such as injury resulting in permanent disability, caring for a spouse with severe dementia, or being a refugee forced from one's native country by war.

Distant stressors: traumatic experiences that occurred in the distant past yet can continue modifying the immune system because of their long-lasting emotional and cognitive consequences, such as child abuse, combat trauma or having been a prisoner of war. Much of their analysis goes on to review the similarities and differences among the 293 studies that they examined. These studies included a total of 18,941 subjects. "Stressful event sequences" appeared to be weakly associated with different immune consequences, depending on the type of event. There appeared to be different patterns for grief than for trauma, for example, but the associations weren't strong enough for the authors to make new claims. They recommended further study.

The authors did find that the most chronic stressors - those which change people’s identities or social roles, are more beyond their control and seem endless - were associated with the most global suppression of immunity. In such situations almost all measures of immune function dropped across the board.

The longer the stress, the more the immune system shifted from potentially adaptive changes (such as those in the acute "fight or flight" response) to potentially detrimental changes, at first in cellular immunity and then in broader immune function. This analysis suggests that stressors that turn a person's world upside down and appear to offer no hope for the future probably have the greatest psychological and physiological impact.
The authors also found that age and disease status affected a person's vulnerability to stress-related decreases in immune function. It seems that illness and age make it harder for the body to regulate itself.

This is a ground-breaking meta-analysis that helps us understand the complex relationship between stress and the immune system. It should lead to new treatments and to better stress management programs, especially for patients with HIV or other disorders that compromise immunity.

Reference: Segerstrom & Miller, 2004. Psychological Stress and the Human Immune System: A Meta-Analytic Study of 30 Years of Inquiry Psychological Bulletin, 130, 4

http://mentalhealth.about.com/od/stress ... e604_2.htm

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More Evidence That Stress is Major Factor for Infections

By Dr. Joseph Mercola
with Rachael Droege

Chronic stress, which has been called America’s number one health problem, is not something to take lightly--it can have profound effects on your immune system and your overall health. Estimates have placed stress-related problems as the cause of 75 percent to 90 percent of all primary care physician visits.

Among adults, job worries are often among the leading contributors to stress, but increased crime, violence, peer pressures leading to substance abuse, social isolation, loneliness, family problems and a loss of religious values can also create problems, even among children, teenagers and the elderly.

Most people associate stress with worry, but stress has a much broader definition to your body. Any kind of change, whether it be emotional, environmental, an illness, hormonal or just pushing yourself too hard, can be stressful. Even positive events, such as getting a promotion or taking a vacation, can be stressful and can gradually weaken your health before you realize what is happening. If you have recently experienced a change in your sleep patterns, feel fatigued, anxious or a lack of enjoyment for life, or have multiple aches and pains, you’re likely overstressed.

It was recently discovered that people under chronic stress had above-normal levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6), an immune-system protein that promotes inflammation and has been linked with heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, severe infections and certain cancers.

It appears that stress increases levels of IL-6, which in turn accelerates a variety of age-related diseases. Further, stress can weaken a person’s immune response, leaving them more susceptible to infection, and can lead to unhealthy lifestyle habits. For instance, stress often leads people to overeat, lose sleep, and neglect exercise, all of which can create health problems on their own.

According to David Holland, M.D., the medical communications director at MediaTrition:

"There is a whole new field called "psychoneuroimmunology" that studies the effects of psychological stress on the immune system. Scientists in this area have demonstrated alterations in the normal function of immune cells in animals during times of stress.

Excessive physical stress also changes our immune cell profile. Increased upper respiratory tract infections occur in athletes who overtrain, and a decreased cell-mediated immunity has been demonstrated in such athletes.

Without a properly functioning immune system, our bodies are vulnerable to invasion by opportunistic germs such as fungi, viruses and bacteria. By taking an antimicrobial like garlic, some scientists have been able to prevent immune suppression in psychologically stressed mice."

It’s not practical to advise people to avoid stress because--let’s face it--we all have it. What is practical, however, is to emphasize the importance of dealing with stress before it takes a toll on your health. It appears that stress impairs the immune system, which allows underlying infections to cause damage.

There is ever increasing evidence that most diseases have an infectious component. Such is the case with most autoimmune disease like rheumatoid arthritis (RA), which--like most all other diseases--is a result of things that happen, or more frequently, things we allow to let happen to us, such as stress overload.

I have successfully treated many thousands of patients with RA with the antibiotic protocol that I refined from Dr. Brown.

His belief was that mycoplasmas significantly contributed to the illness and was helped with antibiotics.

Many tens of thousands of patients have been improved with this therapy, and I have observed that it works far better when one is following the nutrition plan. Further fine-tuning your diet with Metabolic Typing will also result in significant benefits.

NST, a profoundly effective and gentle structural rebalancing technique, improves the condition further and can drastically improve any remaining aches or pains. Another option, which is beneficial for RA as well as stress, is the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT).

Most milder cases of RA can be resolved using EFT, a psychological acupressure technique, without the need for antibiotics. EFT can also help you to channel your stress-related thoughts and leave you feeling calmer and more able to face your challenges. You can view my free 25-page EFT report to learn how to perform EFT.

Other relaxation techniques can also be useful when stress becomes overwhelming. Yoga, a psycho-physical discipline, can lead to mental clarity, greater self-understanding, and a feeling of well being, along with improved physical fitness. Many people experience benefits not only because of the physical stretching and muscle strengthening but also because of the meditative state that is encouraged.

Meditation is another technique that will allow you to calm your mind and fight stress. Meditating can help you to focus your thoughts on relaxing images or principles. It can also help you to examine your daily life and determine what activities are contributing to your stress. Adding deep, controlled breathing can heighten your relaxation.

Finally, it’s important to recognize that stress can be a good thing. It boosts your adrenaline and gives your body a natural push to get things done. The key is to be aware of your stress level and get things under control if stress starts to take over.

http://www.mercola.com/2003/jul/16/stre ... ctions.htm

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Why Stress Affects Us Physically

Kyla Ellis

Why Stress Affects Us Physically

We deal with stress daily. In our every-day vocabulary "stressed" becomes an emotion as in: "How are you?" "I'm feeling happy, how are you?" "I'm feeling stressed." It is a negative word, and is not an emotion we aspire to. But if "stress" comes from the nervous system, why does it affect our body? Why does stress cause us to lose sleep, break out, and become depressed? In my paper, I will attempt to explain what stress is, how it happens, and then what it does to our bodies and why it does those things.

First, let me clarify: Stressors are internal or external factors that produce stress. Stress is the subjective response to the factors (10). All humans and animals have developed internal mechanisms through evolution that allow our bodies to react to a stressor. The term "stress" has a negative connotation, but it can also be a positive thing, such as when performers go onstage, they rely on stress to provide the adrenaline rush necessary to helping them perform. Most stress is not due to life-threatening situations, but rather to every-day occurrences such as public speaking, or meeting new people. I'd like to point out also that the intensity of stress depends on how it is perceived. For example, a deadline contraction can be for some people an opportunity to manage their time more efficiently, while for others it can be the end of the world.

There are four categories of stress. The first is Survival Stress. The phrase "fight or flight" comes from a response to danger that people and animals have programmed into themselves. When something physically threatens us, our bodies respond automatically with a burst of energy so as to allow us to survive the dangerous situation (fight) or escape it all together (flight). The second is Internal Stress. Internal stress is when people make themselves stressed. This often happens when people worry about things that can't be controlled or put themselves in already-proven stress-causing situations. The third category is Environmental Stress. It is the opposite of Internal Stress, it is caused by the things surrounding us that could cause stress, such as pressure from school or family, large crowds, or excessive noise. The fourth category is called Fatigue and Overwork - This kind of stress builds up over a long time and can take a hard toll on your body. It can be caused by working too much or too hard at a job, school, or home. It can also be caused by not knowing how to manage your time well or how to take time out for rest and relaxation. This can be one of the hardest kinds of stress to avoid because many people feel it is out of their control (3).

One site I looked at compared a person undergoing stress to a country whose stability is threatened. The country reacts quickly and puts out a number of civilian and military measures to protect the country. On the one hand, the readiness to quickly respond in such a way is vital to the long-term survival of the nation; on the other hand, the longer this response has to be maintained, the greater the toll will be on other functions of the society(10).

Stress affects us physically, emotionally, behaviorally and mentally. When there is a threat, the body physically reacts by increasing the adrenaline flow, tensing muscles, and increasing heart rate and respiration. Emotions, such as anxiety, irritability, sadness and depression, or extreme happiness and exhilaration come out. Behaviorally, one might possibly experience reduced physical control, insomnia, and irrational behavior. Mentally, stress may severely limit the ability to concentrate, store information in memory and solve problems ("Test anxiety" happens because the brain has a reduced ability to process information while under the effects of stress) (1).

Has anyone ever told you they were stressed out because of acne? The fact that they are stressing out about it might be making the problem worse. How can what happens on your face be related to what happens to your central nervous system? Acne forms when oily secretions from glands beneath the skin plug up the pores. There is a stress hormone known as corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH). An increase in the CRH signals oil glands in the body urge the oil glands to produce more, which can exacerbate oily skin, thus leading to acne(4)(5).

If people are stressed, they may lose sleep due to the fact that there is something on their mind, making it hard for them to stop worrying about it long enough to fall asleep. However, stress hormones also make it harder to sleep. CRH has a stimulating effect and when it is produced in the body in greater quantities, it makes the person stay awake longer and sleep less deeply. In this way, stress is also linked to depression, because people who do not get enough "slow-wave" sleep may be more prone to depression(6).

The hippocampus is an important part of our brain and its functions.

The hippocampus is responsible for consolidating memories into a permanent store (9). The hippocampus is the part of the brain that signals when to shut off production of stress hormones called cortisol. However, these hormones can damage the hippocampus. A damaged hippocampus causes cortisol levels to get out of control, which compromises memory and cognitive function, creating a vicious cycle(7).

In conclusion, stress is not just simply a process that overtakes the central nervous system. It affects the body in many different and seemingly unrelated ways. To live a healthy lifestyle includes striking a good balance between work, down time, and sleep, which should help reduce the effects of stress.

References

1)Coping with the Stress of College Life ,
2)Staying Well ,
3)Understanding and Dealing with Stress
, 4)Science News,
5)CNN.com,
6) Stress and Sleep deprivation ,
7)The Cortisol Conspiracy and Your Hippocampus,
8) Stress Management ,
9)The hippocampus of the Human Brain,
10. 10) The Neurobiology of Stress and Emotions,

http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/biology/b1 ... ellis.html

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Understanding and Dealing With Stress

What Is Stress?

Stress is your body's way of responding to any kind of demand. It can be caused by both good and bad experiences. When people feel stressed by something going on around them, their bodies react by releasing chemicals into the blood. These chemicals give people more energy and strength, which can be a good thing if their stress is caused by physical danger. But this can also be a bad thing, if their stress is in response to something emotional and there is no outlet for this extra energy and strength. This class will discuss different causes of stress, how stress affects you, the difference between 'good' or 'positive' stress and 'bad' or 'negative' stress, and some common facts about how stress affects people today.

What Causes Stress?

Many different things can cause stress -- from physical (such as fear of something dangerous) to emotional (such as worry over your family or job.) Identifying what may be causing you stress is often the first step in learning how to better deal with your stress. Some of the most common sources of stress are:

Survival Stress - You may have heard the phrase "fight or flight" before. This is a common response to danger in all people and animals. When you are afraid that someone or something may physically hurt you, your body naturally responds with a burst of energy so that you will be better able to survive the dangerous situation (fight) or escape it all together (flight). This is survival stress.

Internal Stress - Have you ever caught yourself worrying about things you can do nothing about or worrying for no reason at all? This is internal stress and it is one of the most important kinds of stress to understand and manage. Internal stress is when people make themselves stressed. This often happens when we worry about things we can't control or put ourselves in situations we know will cause us stress. Some people become addicted to the kind of hurried, tense, lifestyle that results from being under stress. They even look for stressful situations and feel stress about things that aren't stressful.

Environmental Stress - This is a response to things around you that cause stress, such as noise, crowding, and pressure from work or family. Identifying these environmental stresses and learning to avoid them or deal with them will help lower your stress level.

Fatigue and Overwork - This kind of stress builds up over a long time and can take a hard toll on your body. It can be caused by working too much or too hard at your job(s), school, or home. It can also be caused by not knowing how to manage your time well or how to take time out for rest and relaxation. This can be one of the hardest kinds of stress to avoid because many people feel this is out of their control. Later in this course we will show you that you DO have options and offer some useful tips for dealing with fatigue.

How Does Stress Affect You?

Stress can affect both your body and your mind. People under large amounts of stress can become tired, sick, and unable to concentrate or think clearly. Sometimes, they even suffer mental breakdowns.

Good Stress Versus Bad Stress

So if stress can be so bad for you, how can there be "good" or "positive" stress?

If you are suffering from extreme stress or long-term stress, your body will eventually wear itself down. But sometimes, small amounts of stress can actually be good.

Understanding your stress level is important. If nothing in your life causes you any stress or excitement, you may become bored or may not be living up to your potential. If everything in your life, or large portions of your life, cause you stress, you may experience health or mental problems that will make your behavior worse.

Recognizing when you are stressed and managing your stress can greatly improve your life. Some short-term stress -- for example what you feel before an important job presentation, test, interview, or sporting event -- may give you the extra energy you need to perform at your best. But long-term stress -- for example constant worry over your job, school, or family -- may actually drain your energy and your ability to perform well.

You Are Not Alone: Common Facts About Stress

Millions of Americans suffer from stress each year.

In fact, 3 out of 4 people say they experience stress at least twice a month.

Over half of those people say they suffer from 'high' levels of stress at least twice a month.

Stress can contribute to heart disease, high blood pressure, and strokes, and make you more likely to catch less serious illnesses like colds. It can also contribute to alcoholism, obesity, drug addiction, cigarette use, depression, and other harmful behaviors.
In the last 20 years, the number of people reporting that stress affects their work has gone up more than four times. (Whereas the number of people reporting that other illnesses affect their work have gone down.)

One fourth of all the drugs prescribed in the United States go to the treatment of stress.

FACT: There are simple steps you can take right now to help reduce your stress!

Test: What is Stress?

Click on link for "Stress Test"

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Physical and Mental Signs of Stress

You've heard before that recognizing when you are under stress is the first step in learning how to deal with your stress, but what does that mean? Sometimes we are so used to living with stress, we don't know how to identify it.

Whether you are experiencing immediate or short-term stress or have been experiencing stress for a long time or long-term stress, your body and mind may be showing the effects. Here are some 'warning signs' that stress is affecting your body and mind.

Physical and Mental Signs of Short-term Stress

Often occurring in quick 'bursts' in reaction to something in your environment, short-term stress can affect your body in many ways.

Some examples include:

Making your heartbeat and breath faster

Making you sweat more

Leaving you with cold hands, feet, or skin

Making you feel sick to your stomach or giving you 'butterflies'

Tightening your muscles or making you feel tense

Leaving your mouth dry

Making you have to go to the bathroom frequently

Increasing muscle spasms, headaches, fatigue, and shortness of breath
While this burst of energy may help you in physical situations where your body needs to react quickly, it can have bad effects on your mind and performance if there is no outlet or reason for your stress.

These effects may include:

Interfering with your judgment and causing you to make bad decisions

Making you see difficult situations as threatening

Reducing your enjoyment and making you feel bad

Making it difficult for you to concentrate or to deal with distraction

Leaving you anxious, frustrated or mad

Making you feel rejected, unable to laugh, afraid of free time, unable to work, and not willing to discuss your problems with others

Physical and Mental Signs of Long-term Stress

Long-term stress or stress that is occurring over long periods of time can have an even greater effect on your body and mind. Long-term stress can affect your body by:

Changing your appetite (making you eat either less or more)

Changing your sleep habits (either causing you to sleep too much or not letting you sleep enough)

Encouraging 'nervous' behavior such as twitching, fiddling, talking too much, nail biting, teeth grinding, pacing, and other repetitive habits

Causing you to catch colds or the flu more often and causing other illnesses such as asthma, headaches, stomach problems, skin problems, and other aches and pains

Affecting your not allowed life and performance

Making you feel constantly tired and worn out

Long-term stress can also have serious effects on your mental health and behavior. If you are under stress for long periods of time, you may find that you have difficulty thinking clearly, dealing with problems, or even handling day-to-day situations as simple as shaving, picking up clothes or arriving somewhere on time. Some mental signs of long-term stress include:

Worrying and feeling anxious (which can sometimes lead to anxiety disorder and panic attacks)

Feeling out of control, overwhelmed, confused, and/or unable to make decisions

Experiencing mood changes such as depression, frustration, anger, helplessness, irritability, defensiveness, irrationality, overreaction, or impatience and restlessness

Increasing dependence on food, notallowed, alcohol, or drugs

Neglecting important things in life such as work, school, and even personal appearance

Developing irrational fears of things such as physical illnesses, natural disasters like thunderstorms and earthquakes, and even being terrified of ordinary situations like heights or small spaces

While occasionally experiencing one or two of the above symptoms may not be cause for concern (everyone has a few nervous habits and difficulties in their lives!), having a number of these symptoms may mean you are under more stress than you think. But realizing you are under stress is the first step in learning to deal with stress. We recommend you take our stress test then read on to learn more about dealing with stress.

Yes, I'm Stressed -- "Help!"

You've recognized you're stressed, but what can you do? There are a number of long-term strategies you can take that include changing your lifestyle, removing yourself from stressful situations, and accepting the times when you will be under stress, but for immediate stress relief -- STOP. BREATHE.

Feel a little better?

One of the most immediate and easiest ways to deal with stress is responding to your body's physical symptoms. Sometimes this can be as easy as stopping what you're doing and taking a few deep, relaxing breaths. Sound too easy? Well try it.

Are the kids or family getting on your nerves?

Go into another room, or even the bathroom or closet if you need to get away! Shut the door. Experience the quiet. Take a few deep breaths. Feel the tension go out of your head, neck and shoulders. Try not to feel too silly for hanging out in the coat closet.

Had another bad day with your boss or another office worker?

Shut the door to your office if you have one and take a few minutes for yourself. No door? Stroll down the hall, rinse your face in cool water in the bathroom, or head outside for a few lungfulls of fresh air. Just getting away for a few minutes can be calming and help you relax.

Spent too long studying over the books or trying to finish that report for work?

Push back from your desk. Roll your head and shoulders. Rub your hands together quickly to warm them and place them over your weary eyes, or just close your eyes and let your face and neck relax. Breathe in and out deeply. Remember the time your boss / coworker / teacher / you sat on the jelly donut.

There -- you've already lowered your stress and your blood pressure in just a few seconds. Because our first reaction to stress is physical (our body releases chemicals, our heartbeat and breath become faster, and muscles get tense as we prepare for 'fight or flight'), your first line of defense against stress is convincing your body to relax again.

Responding to the immediate physical effects of stress can help lessen the long-term and mental effects of stress. Developing a healthier lifestyle and building activities into your schedule that help you relax can also help your body, and mind, bounce back from stress. Here are some other 'quick fixes' and long-term tips for helping you deal with the physical effects of stress

Quick Fixes to Physical Effects of Stress

4 Things In 5 Minutes! Four quick tips for relaxing on the spot.

Breathe deeply - take several deep breaths to slow down your heart rate and reduce your anxiety.

Relax your muscles - stretch your neck, stand or sit up straight, get some of the tension out of your body.

Make a change - step back from what you're doing and/or what's stressing you; a few seconds can bring a lot of perspective.

Laugh - nothing relieves the tension in your body, or your mind, like a little humor

Quick Fixes to Physical Effects of Stress: Breathe!

Breathe

We all know how to breathe, but getting the most from each breath during a stressful time can relax your muscles, decrease your heart rate, and eventually lower your blood pressure. Try these different techniques when you have the time (and space) to do so. As you become more comfortable with these exercises (or other exercises that help you relax), incorporate them into your everyday routines.

Breath Counting

Sit up straight or lay down.

Take normal, deep breaths.

Feel your stomach rise and fall as you breathe.


Each time you breathe out, count a breath.

Count 10 breaths in a row. If you miss one, start over.

When you get to 10, repeat.

Focus on your breathing and block out all other thoughts.

Repeat as many times as necessary.

Belly Breathing

Find a comfortable place and sit or lie down.

Place one hand over your belly button; place the other hand on top.

Take a deep breath in (2-3 seconds) through your nose and feel the air travel down into your 'belly' making your abdomen and hands rise.

Hold your breath for several seconds, keeping the air inside your 'belly'. (This is expanding your diaphragm and lungs.)

Think to yourself that your body is calm and at peace.

Slowly exhale through your mouth and feel your hands and abdomen go down.

Repeat 4-5 times.

As you become more comfortable, you can increase the length of time you breathe in and hold your breath. Repeating this exercise several times a day and during stressful situations can help you relax.
*Note: If you ever feel dizzy during this exercise, stop! Try again with shorter and fewer breaths. If you continue to have difficulty, you may want to contact a doctor, nurse, of physical therapist.

Quick Fixes to Physical Effects of Stress: Relax

Relax: Upper Body

Telling someone to relax is often easier said than done, but sometimes we hold a lot of our tension in our body and muscles. Shaking out a few of those kinks and curves in your body may make dealing with the kinks and curves life throws you a little easier. Remember that these exercises are meant to help you relax and are just suggestions. Do not feel pressure to do all of them. Do not do any exercise that feels painful or uncomfortable. If you have any physical problems or disabilities, you should check with your doctor, nurse, or physical therapist.

When doing any exercise (even 'relaxation' exercises), don't push yourself too hard. After all, that's not relaxing! And, always use correct posture, move slowly and cautiously, and get the most from each exercise.

Hands, arms and shoulders

Hands - bend and straighten fingers several times to increase blood flow

Hands - let fingers and hands hang loosely from your wrists; gently shake hands

Hands - clench your fists and curl your wrists inward; curl your wrists back; rotate fists in circles

Arms - straighten your arms against your sides and press tightly; release; repeat

Arms - gently bend arms at the elbows (as though lifting imaginary weights); repeat several times to increase blood flow to arms
Arms and shoulders - if you can (and it's comfortable), raise your arms above your head and grasp your hands together; stretch toward the sky; bring your arms back to your sides and try to reach behind you, clasping hands; feel your chest expand and stretch your shoulders and arms; repeat

Shoulders - with your arms at your side, lift your shoulders high (toward your ears) and then release; repeat

Shoulders - if you can (and it's comfortable), keep your arms at your side and roll your shoulder in forward circles; stop after several rotations and switch directions

Head, neck and face

Face - wiggle your face! raise and lower your eyebrows; puff out your cheeks; relax your jaw (these exercises are best done in private or to entertain small children)

Face - gently massage your ears: pull down gently on your ear lobes and massage them; release and gently grab your entire ear, gently rotating it in small circles

Head and neck - without moving your shoulders or spine, look to the left; look to the right; look up raising your chin gently no more than three inches; look down; repeat; stop at any point if this doesn't feel comfortable or becomes painful

Head and neck - close your eyes and let your head slowly fall forward; slowly roll your head to the right then to the left; don't pull or strain; repeat as necessary; stop at any point if this doesn't feel comfortable or becomes painful

Quick Fixes to Physical Effects of Stress: Relax

Relax: Lower Body

Telling someone to relax is often easier said than done, but sometimes we hold a lot of our tension in our body and muscles. Shaking out a few of those kinks and curves in your body may make dealing with the kinks and curves life throws you a little easier. Remember that these exercises are meant to help you relax and are just suggestions. Do not feel pressure to do all of them. Do not do any exercise that feels painful or uncomfortable. If you have any physical problems or disabilities, you should check with your doctor, nurse, or physical therapist.

When doing any exercise (even 'relaxation' exercises), don't push yourself too hard. After all, that's not relaxing! And, always use correct posture, move slowly and cautiously, and get the most from each exercise.

Back and spine

Back and spine - sitting or standing straight, keep your hips facing forward and gently turn your upper body to the left; return to center; gently turn your upper body to the right; return to center; repeat; stop at any point if this doesn't feel comfortable or becomes painful

Back and spine - sit up straight with your back against a firm chair or stand up straight with your back against the wall and your feet about a foot away from the wall; gently push your chest out so that your spine curves away from the wall/chair back; return to center with your spine flat against the wall/chair; pull your stomach in and curve your spine toward the wall/chair so that your shoulders and bottom pull away from the wall/chair; return to center; repeat; stop at any point if this doesn't feel comfortable or becomes painful

Feet, ankles, legs and hips

Feet - wiggle your toes! Slip off your shoes; wiggle your toes and feet; try to grab the rug or a small object with just your toes
Ankles - point your toes and feel the top of your feet and ankles stretch; straighten your toes and pushing down through your heels, pull your toes toward your shins to stretch in the other direction; (this is also great for tight calves!)

Ankles - rotate your feet in circles; switch directions

Legs and hips - in a seated position, straighten your legs in front of you; pushing down through your heels, pull your toes toward you and stretch your calves and thighs

Legs and hips - squeeze that tush! Tighten and release your thighs and buttocks to return circulation to an often ignored area and work out those muscles; release; repeat

Quick Fixes to Physical Effects of Stress: Change

Make a Change

There's nothing like a quick change of pace to put things in perspective. When work, school or family life becomes too much, there's nothing wrong with escaping for a few minutes.

Escape from work by taking a quick walk around the office or around the block. Offer to deliver the mail, pick up a package, go get bagels -- anything to get away from your desk or what's stressing you for a few minutes.

Take a study break and do something different. Turn on music and dance around. Sing at the top of your lungs (if no one else is around!)

Make yourself a healthy snack; your body needs nourishment just like your mind.

If you're listening to the radio, turn it off. If you aren't, turn it on to your favorite station.

Go get a cool class of water or juice, or a hot cup of cocoa or herbal tea.

Go outside for a breath of fresh air and enjoy the sun, rain, or snow.

Take yourself out of your stressful situation for a few minutes and do something different! You'll come back relaxed and with a much better perspective on the situation.

Laugh

It's that simple. Laughter is one of the great stress relievers of all time. Laugh at a comic strip. Laugh at a movie you just saw or joke you just heard. Laugh at yourself. Just try not to laugh at other people -- that would make you guilty of causing others stress.

Dealing with Stress: Long-Term and Mental Strategies

Prepare Yourself

Now that you're treating your body well and taking deep breaths, walks, or whatever else you need to do to stay calm, why isn't your life completely stress free? First, you must remember that life is never stress free. (If it was, it would be pretty boring.) Second, you must accept that there are some stresses in life that can't be avoided.

Major life changes such as the death of loved ones, financial difficulties, moves or divorces, are bound to cause a person stress. Even joyful changes such as marriage, pregnancies, or holidays can add stress. These changes are part of life and can't be avoided. But you can learn to better manage the stress you can't avoid, and should learn to avoid the stress you can.

In addition to treating your body well and learning how to manage the physical symptoms of stress, changing your mental attitude and your lifestyle can help minimize stress. Continue to the next page for recommendations for reducing and managing stress

Long-term Strategies for Dealing With Stress

Identify what is causing you stress.

Don't ignore or gloss over your problems. If something is bothering you, identify what it is. If you think it shouldn't be bothering you, stop and ask yourself why it does -- maybe something larger is bothering you and it has seemed easier to focus on the small things. This may help you cope in the moment-to-moment, but eventually you must face up to your larger issues. Taking the time to identify the serious stressors in your life will help you come up with a strategy for managing them.

Recognize what you can change.

Can you change what's bothering you? If not, can you change your response to the problem or learn to channel your frustration in another way? People find comfort in patterns, even if those patterns are stressful. Maybe it's time to change those patterns. If your relatives criticize your cooking every time you invite them to dinner (and you aren't ready to stop seeing them altogether), maybe you could suggest dining out or throw a pot-luck dinner where everyone brings a dish. Or maybe you can chime in and begin making outrageous jokes about how if they don't like your tapioca you can always use the leftovers to re-caulk the bathroom. If you can't change your stressors in life (such as critical relatives), maybe you can change the situation (different environment) or your response (humor) to lessen the most stressful situations.

Reduce the intensity of your reactions.

Should you be reacting so strongly to the situation? Sometimes, we need to put things in perspective. You may be overreacting and seeing the situation as more stressful than it is. Take a breath; walk out of the room; accept that no one's perfect, including your parents, coworkers, teachers, children, and yourself. Step back and ask yourself if what's bothering you deserves all your attention and energy. Maybe the time you're spending worrying could be better spent on improving your life and the life of those around you.

Re-examine your attitudes and 'obligations'.

Are you putting yourself under too much stress? Are you trying to be all things to all people? Sometimes in trying too hard to do good for others, we aren't doing well for ourselves.

Stop and examine your priorities in life -- and don't forget to name yourself as one of those priorities. Is working overtime for that new television worth the quality time you're sacrificing with your family and friends? Can't take an hour out of your busy week to relax in a bath or read your new magazine but find yourself volunteering to help every family member, friend, coworker, and acquaintance? Feel that you're depriving your family by buying a frozen dinner instead of preparing one from scratch although you've worked a ten-hour shift and need to sleep? You don't want to set the bar too low, but you don't want to set it so high that it's overwhelming.

Ask yourself what you would expect from other people, and expect the same from yourself. Learn to forgive yourself and others when, on occasion, you can't meet those standards -- it's called being human. And learn to accept help. Ask your family, friends, or partners for assistance. Instead of straining your relationships, you may find this helps. By handing over responsibilities to others (and letting them handle them their way, not 'your' way), you're building trust and making them feel an important part of the process.

Organize yourself.

Are you spreading yourself too thin? Are you more productive during certain times of the day? Overwork and fatigue are one of the most common causes of stress. Maybe you are taking on too much: learn to say no to things that will not affect your job, school or relationships. Spending time with family and friends is important, but sometimes you need down time and time to rest. Are you managing your time well? If you work better in the morning, plan your big tasks for morning. If you're a night owl, plan your important tasks for later in the day. Visit the Tools and Resources area for a checklist of recommendations to improve your organizational skills.

Develop emotional supports and use them.

Do you have someone you can talk to about your life? Having someone you can share both the good and bad with is important. If you have a large group of friends, lean on them in times of difficulty; you wouldn't turn them away if they needed you, would you? If you don't have a large network, start to build one. Join a group or organization where people will share your interests. Get out there -- even if it's just a trip to the grocery store, gym, library or WalMart; you never know who you may bump into. Seek assistance from professionals (health care, counselors, religious advisors) who are experienced and comfortable in giving support. Most of all, be your own best friend: accept any flaws or the occasional failure; make the most of your abilities and successes.

Let it all out.

Laugh. Cry. Scream. Sometimes you need to let out your emotions and few tools are better than the ones nature gave us. Saving these emotional outbursts for a private, comfortable setting is important -- crying, screaming and laughing hysterically at work or school will more likely add to your stress, after the fact, than reduce it.

But what's wrong with having a good cry? Or a good belly laugh? Or a good yell (though certainly not directed at anyone in particular and preferably in the privacy of your car, closet, or pillow, so no one notifies the police). These mechanisms offer some of the most immediate means of stress relief -- they just shouldn't be your only way of dealing with stress.

Society often judges people who can't control their emotions or behavior, and letting go around friends and family can sometimes result in hurt feelings. But occasionally unleashing your full fury on the dresser you always bump into in the middle of the night or having a good cry on the shoulder of a loved one could leave you more relaxed and relieved than any amount of time management, deep breathing, or rational discussion.

You Are Not to Blame: Some Stresses Can't Be Avoided

Try as we might, sometimes we can't avoid stressful situations or avoid being under stress. Some stresses are forced on us. The terrorist attacks on our nation September 11, 2001, brought this issue to light when people around the country found themselves unable to sleep, feeling under pressure, experiencing depression, and showing other symptoms in reaction to the trauma of the attacks.

People who experience traumatic events, such as terrorist attacks, life-threatening situations, natural disasters, serious accidents, or personal assaults can suffer from an extreme form of stress call Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. PTSD is a psychiatric disorder and people who suffer from it often relive their traumatic experiences through nightmares and flashbacks, have difficulty sleeping, and feel detached or estranged. PTSD can occur at any time - days or even years after a traumatic event. It is often accompanied by depression, substance abuse, memory problems, and other physical and mental health problems. The disorder can affect people's day-to-day life, including their ability to function socially.

Similar to PTSD, other forms of chronic stress, often brought on by life situations that are out of our control, such as having a disability, can be difficult to manage. The constant stress of spending the rest of your life looking for a curb cut, ramp, or step-less entrance can add up and increase your overall stress.

People who experience PTSD or chronic stress should seek help from professionals - some burdens are too great to bear alone. Although there is no perfect treatment for PTSD or chronic stress, there are a variety of medications and psychotherapies that can greatly improve the quality of life of people with severe stress problems.

Conclusion and Finding More Help

Whether you start to take yoga classes, decide to organize your monthly bills, or make an appointment with a healthcare professional to discuss medications and therapies to help you deal with stress, we hope you now realize that you have options. Stress can seem overwhelming. Stress can be isolating. Stress can be, well, stressful. But you are not alone; you shouldn't be ashamed; and you can overcome it.

The recommendations included in this course are just a few of the ways you can try to deal with stress. There are numerous options and numerous resources about stress online, in print, and available from healthcare organizations and professionals. If you're interested in learning more about stress and ways of coping with stress, we recommend you check out some of the resources in the Tools and Resources section or contact your physician.

Everyone's stressors, reactions to stress, and ways of dealing with stress are different. It may take a little experimentation, a little time, and a little practice, but you'll find something that works for you. Keep trying -- and try not to stress about it.

------------

From:

Mountain State Centers for Independent Living (MTSTCIL) is a community-based organization providing advocacy, networking, and resources to persons with disabilities and their families. The centers are a place where people with disabilities are free to meet, share, learn and plan lives of greater independence and self reliance

http://mtstcil.org
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Lymphedema and Stress

Postby patoco » Sun Jun 25, 2006 1:53 pm

Silkie got me thinking about stress in her post today in another forum.

Just ran across this old article (1999) from the National Lymphedema Network about stress. Maybe old...but still very very valid.

............

July 1999
Bonnie B. Lasinski, PT
Q: Is it true that stress aggravates lymphedema?

A: Stress is the plague of our modern, fast-track world. The state of being "stressed out" is an all too common complaint of adults and, more recently, children and teens. Too much to do in not enough time, the increasing demands of 10- and 12-hour workdays while still trying to maintain a balanced life, handling the discomfort of being a child that does not "fit in" - these are just a few of the many causes of stress.

A number of studies have been done highlighting the negative effects of stress on the major organ systems - blood pressure, heart rate, blood vessel dilation/constriction, increased sympathetic nervous system stimulation triggering the "fight or flight" response, changes in respiration, muscle tone, etc. All of the above directly or indirectly influence the function of the lymphatic system. Gentle, rhythmic, reciprocal exercises enhance the pumping of the lymphatics. Muscle tension/spasm will block or impede lymph flow, thereby increasing lymphedema. Deep abdominal breathing exercises are crucial to enhance the flow of fluid through the thoracic duct and back into the central circulatory system. Shallow, irregular breathing or holding one's breath when anxious or upset will impair that flow. All this is assuming that you have the time to actually do your exercise and skin care program, if pressed for time and feeling overwhelmed. In times of stress, the things that usually suffer the most are rest, diet, proper exercise and self-care activities such as skin care and self-massage. Unfortunately, without proper attention to these activities, the individual with lymphedema will, most likely, experience an exacerbation of their lymphedema. Try to make every effort to maintain your self-care activities, asking for help when needed. Sometimes, you just have to say "no" to some things in order to avoid a downward spiral of decreasing self-care, increasing lymphedema and eventual inability to continue one's daily activities. This may necessitate a gradual lifestyle adjustment. Of course, there are always emergency situations that leave you with no choice. In that event, try to prioritize your individual self-care program to insure that the essential steps are still possible, even in the event of an emergency.

http://www.lymphnet.org/lymphedemaFAQs/ ... _07_99.htm

National Lymphedema Network

http://www.lymphnet.org/aboutNLN/aboutNLN.htm
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