People with inflammatory arthritis are often told to take steps to reduce their stress. Why? Stress can produce hormone changes that lead to inflammation.
Unfortunately, there is no universally accepted formula for reducing stress. One person may relax by learning a new instrument, while another may find learning a new instrument very demanding and frustrating.
Ideas for reducing stress
What would help you relax? Below are ideas to get you started.
- Meditate each day. Don’t like meditating? Take small breaks throughout the day to clear your mind and take 10 deep breaths.
- Share your feelings about problems and concerns with at least one trusted friend, family member, or counselor. Being able to share your worries with someone who listens can be a big stress reliever.
- Eat a salad. A healthy diet full of dark leafy greens can improve your mood and your health.
- Get good sleep. Adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Practice good sleep hygiene by creating a bedtime routine.
- Relax and recharge. When possible, take vacations or day trips. These excursions don’t have to be fancy or expensive—they just have to get you far enough from work that you have time to relax and recharge.
- Exercise. A challenging workout can release stress. Aerobic exercise gets your heart rate up and releases endorphins.
- Take up a hobby. Whether it’s gardening, playing music, bird-watching or crafting, a hobby can help take your mind off the outside world. It also can give you a feeling of accomplishment!
- Grab a book. Spend some quiet time reading a good book for 20 minutes each day. Reading will almost certainly be more relaxing than checking your social media accounts or trying to improve your online gaming skills.
- Get a pet. Petting a cat or walking a dog can boost your mood and help you recharge. Don’t want to commit to a pet? Volunteer to walk dogs or play with the cats at your local pet shelter.
Try a few ideas out and see if you find your stress—and your inflammatory arthritis symptoms—decrease over time.