Reducing Stress Can Help Me with Anxiety and Schizophrenia
It's common knowledge that too much stress is bad for our health, but those of us with a mental health diagnosis can face another risk from stress, which is increased symptoms. As part of my self-care or lifestyle monitoring, I try to reduce how much stress I experience daily to manage anxiety and schizophrenia symptoms.
There are some stressors I have no control over, like an episode of paranoia or an olfactory hallucination (typical for me). But other times, I know what causes the stress, and I can avoid it to help reduce the likelihood of increased or more severe symptoms of anxiety or schizophrenia. For example, driving causes me a lot of stress, so I try to avoid it unless necessary (like driving my husband home after a medical procedure).
Going to the doctor causes me to spiral into anxiety attacks, but that is a situation I can't change. I must go to the doctor to get regular blood work, monitor my medications, and get breast and colon cancer screenings. In situations where I know there is a high probability that I will have an anxiety attack, I use tools learned over the years to try and manage the severity of the attack. I practice things like deep breathing, tell myself that I am safe, and use meditation.
Avoiding Stress to Help with Anxiety and Schizophrenia
Beyond the things I can't avoid, there are more things I can avoid. I can reduce social media, where I feel bombarded with headlines and advertisements that cause stress. Headlines about gun violence, wars, and the state of the economy cause my stress level to increase, as do advertisements about health conditions and medications. I already know that I think I have every disease or illness I hear about, so being exposed to this information regularly is unhealthy for me. Putting down my phone and unfollowing news organizations can reduce the amount of stress I experience.
Another way to reduce stress is to pay attention to my thoughts. If I can catch myself going over and over a situation (for example, an upcoming presentation or event), I can try to redirect my thoughts. It's challenging and requires practice, but I can stop ruminating on things that haven't happened yet. I tell myself, "I don't want to think about this now. I don't know that outcome, but in the past, things have often turned out better than expected."
I go on that way and then try to do something that engages my mind, like turn on music that I like to sing along with, do a writing exercise, or read a light-hearted book.
Reducing my stress can help me avoid symptoms of anxiety and schizophrenia and help keep other symptoms from becoming severe.
Chamaa, R. (2023, March 8). Reducing Stress Can Help Me with Anxiety and Schizophrenia , HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, October 2 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/creativeschizophrenia/2023/3/reducing-stress-can-help-me-with-anxiety-and-schizophrenia