Stress can make eczema worse. Make these stress management strategies part of your routine to improve symptoms.
For many people who live with atopic dermatitis (eczema), stress can trigger symptoms. Stress is thought to trigger inflammation in the body. And eczema, itself, is an inflammatory response. Studies show that controlling stress can improve inflammation and eczema symptoms. Managing your stress is an important part of managing eczema. Try these strategies:
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 eczema symptoms.
You don't have to sweat to reap some of the benefits of exercise. Going for a walk, gardening, and doing mind-body activities such as yoga or tai chi can also help reduce the body's stress response.
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 reduce your body's immune response to stress and minimize inflammation.
A study conducted by the National Eczema Association found that people with eczema who participated in a weeklong meditation course reported a significant improvement in their overall quality of life. The participants also indicated that meditation helped lessen the emotional impact of itchiness that accompanies the condition.
- Practice deep breathing. This relaxation technique involves spending a few minutes each day focusing on breathing slowly and deeply. One type of deep breathing practice is to spend equal amounts of time breathing in and out. For example, count to five while you breathe in, then count to five as you breathe out. Repeat a few times in a row.
- Practice acceptance. You can't completely control your eczema. But you can manage the effects it has on your life. It's important to review and identify your triggers and to start treatment as soon as possible. Once you understand what triggers your eczema, you can turn your attention to the best ways to prevent a flare-up and focus on living your best 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 eczema who know what it's like to live with the condition.
March 08, 2022
- Eczema and emotional wellness. National Eczema Association. https://nationaleczema.org/eczema-emotional-wellness/. Accessed May 27, 2021.
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- Eczema and exercise. National Eczema Association. https://nationaleczema.org/eczema-exercise/. Accessed May 27, 2021.
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- Black D, et al. Mindfulness meditation and the immune system: A systemic review of randomized controlled trials. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 2016; doi:10.1111/nyas.12998.