Stress is one of the top contributing factors of many health problems, from high blood pressure to skin rashes. Stress alone might not have caused you to develop COPD, but if you think of it this way, you may have started smoking to calm your nerves when you were under stress. Too much stress over time will begin to wear on your immune system, making it easier for viruses and bacterial infections to make a home in your body. Staying completely stress free in life is near impossible, but there are some things you can do to relieve it for a time, or lessen it.
When people are stressed, they sometimes end up trying to relieve it in some very unhealthy ways. Doing any recreational drugs, including alcohol, binge eating on junk food, or continuing to smoke cigarettes after your diagnosis with COPD, are among the unhealthy habits. Our stress doesn't always result in these habits, though, they can be much more subtle, such as nail biting, mindlessly picking at your skin or pulling out your hair. Pay attention to your own subtle habits so you can notice when you are stressed. Our bodies tell us things that we don't consciously recognize.
You need your immune system to be working in top form, especially if you have a chronic lung disease that can be negatively impacted by something as common as a cold. Aside from eating healthy foods, getting the adequate amount of exercise as directed by your doctor, and getting enough sleep at night, you should also be doing what you can to lower your stress levels as much as possible.
The first thing you can do is make a list of the things in your life that are causing you stress. If you can remove some of these things from your life, you should try to do so. As for the things you can't change, you can use some of these stress relieving activities to help you deal with them and prevent them from hurting your health. Of course, you should also talk to your doctor about any concerns that you have.
Listen to music you like, every day. Studies have shown that music has a major impact on our minds, and when you listen to music you like, it just makes you feel good. Make it a point to do this every day, even if you just listen to one or two songs, and concentrate on the music. You should try to focus as much of your attention on the music as you can to get the full effect.
Go on the move. If you're home bound, this could mean reading good books or watching television that transports you to another time and place. Physically traveling could mean taking a road trip or just a walk around your neighborhood, a stroll on some trails in a local park, or just a trip around the block. Mental and physical journeys will help take your mind off of things, as well as introduce you to all kinds of interesting people and things.
Pet some animals. Obviously this wouldn't be the right option for someone who is allergic to animal dander or specific types of animals. In general, petting animals has been proven to help relieve stress. Go to a petting zoo or visit friends or family who have pets, which will give you the perks of socializing and petting a furry friend. If you have your own pet/s, spend quality time with them.
Information on this page is for reference and educational purposes only. For more information talk to your doctor or primary care provider.