Ease stress to reduce your psoriasis flares
For many who live with the chronic skin condition psoriasis, stress can trigger psoriasis symptoms. Stress is thought to trigger inflammation in the body. And psoriasis, itself, is an inflammatory response. Fortunately, studies show that controlling stress can improve psoriasis symptoms.
Managing your stress, then, is an important part of managing your psoriasis. Try these strategies:
Jan. 05, 2017
- Get moving. Physical activity helps bump up the production of your brain's feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins. It can help you relieve stress, increase your self-confidence and reduce symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety. Exercise can also improve your sleep, which is often disrupted by stress, depression and anxiety.
- Meditate. Starting a daily meditation practice can give you a sense of calm, peace and balance that benefits both your emotional well-being and your overall health. Meditation might help to reduce your body's immune response to stress and minimize inflammation. It also helps you let go of negative emotions and focus on the present moment. Try visualizing mental images of places or situations you find relaxing (guided meditation) to help you feel more relaxed.
- Practice deep breathing. This relaxation technique involves spending a few minutes each day focusing on breathing slowly and deeply. Sit comfortably and focus just on your breathing. Relaxation techniques are a great way to reduce stress.
- Practice acceptance. You can't completely control your psoriasis. Instead of getting upset, get treated, avoid triggers and focus on the positives in your life.
- Talk it out. Whether you vent to a friend or family member, seek guidance from your place of worship, or talk to a mental health provider, it's important to discuss what's bothering you. Consider joining a support group for people with psoriasis who know what it's like to live with your condition.
- Hunter H, et al. Does psychosocial stress play a role in the exacerbation of psoriasis? British Journal of Dermatology. 2013;169:965.
- How cigarettes and alcohol affect psoriasis. National Psoriasis Foundation. https://www.psoriasis.org/advance/how-cigarettes-and-alcohol-affect-psoriasis. Accessed Nov. 20, 2016.
- Balato N, et al. Psoriasis and sport: A new ally? European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology. 2015;29:515.
- Stress and psoriatic disease. National Psoriasis Foundation. https://www.psoriasis.org/life-with-psoriasis/stress. Accessed Nov. 22, 2016.
- Manage stress. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. https://healthfinder.gov/HealthTopics/Category/health-conditions-and-diseases/heart-health/manage-stress. Accessed Nov. 22, 2016.
- Tips to manage anxiety and stress. Anxiety and Depression Association of America. https://www.adaa.org/tips-manage-anxiety-and-stress. Accessed Nov. 21, 2016.