**Stress and Chron’s Disease
- Finding out you have a long-term condition like Crohn's disease can cause a mix of emotions.
-You might be worried or sad.
-You could be in denial.
-Or you may feel like it’s your fault that you have Crohn’s (it’s not).
-If you have a loved one with Crohn's, you can go through some of the same things.
-You may fear for their health or be upset because they can't do all the activities they used to.
-Either way, there are things you can do to help handle the challenges of living with Crohn's.
**Can Stress Cause Chron’s Disease?
-Stress does not cause Crohn’s, but stress does have a negative effect on the immune system.
-Poor mental health and bouts of stress, anxiety, and depression can make disease worse and harder to treat.
-Crohn's is a relapsing-remitting chronic disease. It’s unpredictable, and at times, symptoms can be uncontrollable, which can add a big factor of stress to one’s life
-Have you ever wondered why your stomach might feel queasy if you’re nervous?
-Or why you lose your appetite if you’re worried?
-Your stomach and your mental state share a connection.
-Unfortunately, for those with Crohn’s disease and colitis, a stressed and overloaded mental state can cause a lot more havoc than just a little queasiness.
-Stress can trigger a flare-up.
-Inflammation in your GI tract causes these symptoms, and many people experience inflammation in cycles.
-This means you might have a handle on your symptoms and then suddenly something triggers a flare-up.
-A flare-up is a reappearance (or worsening) of your symptoms.
-Stress doesn’t just cause a flare-up; a flare-up can cause more mental stress, too.
-It’s a vicious cycle.
-If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your symptoms, you might feel stressed out.
-Regardless of whether stress triggered a flare-up or your flare-up triggered a stress response, you need to manage your stress levels.
**The Relaxation Response
-The relaxation response is the rest and digest part of the nervous system.
-It basically undoes the work of the stress response after a stressful situation.
-The relaxation response happens when we feel safe, nurtured or taken care of.
-It can block effects from your body’s response to stress.
-This is good for your mental and physical health.
**Effective Relaxation Techniques
-The most effective relaxation technique is one that works for you!
-Different relaxation techniques will help different people at different times.
-What works for you this week, may not work next week.
-But it might work again next month.
-Our needs vary and so it’s important to have a toolbox of relaxation techniques to help you on a regular basis.