Stress and health issues can seem like a never-ending cycle: being diagnosed with a specific health issue can cause stress, and when we’re stressed, even more health issues can spring up. Getting ourselves stuck in one of these “stress loops” can ultimately make it much harder to deal with the original issue.
If you’re currently feeling stressed about a new diagnosis, here are a few ways to deal directly with that mental tension. Dealing with negative emotions as soon as they pop up can feel empowering, which can ultimately help us feel more positive on our journey toward better health!
How to Cope With Health Issues That Stress You Out
1. Find a Healthcare Team You Feel Good About.
No one should have to navigate health issues with physicians who don’t make them feel comfortable. Take your time to find a primary care provider or a specialist you trust — it’s OK if you have to say “hi” and “bye” to a few before settling on one who you feel safe and comfortable with.
2. Get Support From Friends and Family.
Don’t stop at a supportive healthcare team — reach out to friends and family you trust for their advice. Leaning on those we love during times of stress can be an immensely beneficial coping strategy. According to the American Psychological Association’s (APA) 2015 Stress in America survey, “the average stress level for those with emotional support was 5.0 out of 10, compared to 6.3 for those without such support.”
3. Prioritize Daily Self-Care.
Taking care of yourself on a daily basis — including but not limited to things like brushing your teeth, showering and looking presentable, eating nutritious meals, and getting physical activity — can help maintain your “emotional reserves,” and therefore, help you fight back against stress when it strikes.
4. Find Products That Minimize Symptoms.
If you’re dealing with certain symptoms that can be treated with over-the-counter products, then finding those products should be one of the first things you do to alleviate some stress. For instance, if you’re experiencing gingivitis (a mild form of gum disease), an effective over-the-counter solution is parodontax Complete Protection. Not only does it keep your teeth strong and helps prevent cavities (when used twice daily), it’s clinically proven to help prevent bleeding gums due to mild gum disease. If you’re dealing with something more complicated like arthritis, your doctor may advise you to take an over-the-counter medication along with prescription meds, so they can more powerfully combat inflammation and pain.
5. Find Your Outlet.
You shouldn’t have to focus 24/7 on your health problems! In fact, research suggests that leisure activities that bring enjoyment can help boost your mood and possibly lessen stress. Consider positive books and movies, a hobby like painting or baking, gardening, exercising, or learning a new language.