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Why do we need to avoid stress?

 

Feeling stressed is never a pleasant state to be in. Our bodies react by releasing adrenalin Stress Articleinto the bloodstream to increase the heart rate, raise the blood pressure, speed up the breathing and heighten blood sugar levels; we get those butterflies in the stomach and our palms start to feel sweaty as our body prepares us to fight or flee.

In a situation of acute danger this reaction can save our lives enabling us to perform tasks possibly beyond our normal strength: to run faster than we have ever run before or to strike out at an opponent with more force than we believed possible as we ride the adrenalin surge. However, if this state becomes chronic it can become damaging rather than life-saving.

Chronic stress suppresses the appetite and the immune system, heightens sensitivity to pain, disturbs sleep patterns and leaves us feeling exhausted and anxious. Muscles become permanently tensed ready for action which they are not needed for and energy is burned at such a rate that fatigue becomes a regular companion.

Stress has a negative impact on any illness and fibromyalgia is no exception. Our muscles already feel tight and sore and we certainly don't want to waste any of our precious energy stores. Heightening our sensitivity to pain even further and giving ourselves even less chance of falling asleep is also not on our agenda of goals for the day. But, how can stress be avoided? It is all very well for people to say relax, take it easy and don't worry, when we know we have a list of tasks that need to be done and the pain and fatigue are constantly nagging at us reducing our ability to handle further demands. When you live in constant pain things can become overwhelming quite quickly; I know that towards the end of the day when I am feeling tired and my muscles are sore I snap much more easily. Those close to me know not to ask me to make decisions or to do lots of tasks in the evening as my reaction is not always amicable!

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