Stress & Attitude
Stress is unavoidable in today’s, juggle-everything world, how exactly it affects the gastrointestinal system and IBD is still under investigation. However, the evidence so far suggests several mechanisms may be involved.
- Stress may trigger flares and may contribute to the severity of IBD symptoms such as diarrhea and abdominal cramping.
- Anxiety and depression rates among IBD patients tend to be higher than in the general population, even when symptoms are in remission. Their prolonged effects, along with pain and distress, can have negative effects on quality of life, and poor quality of life is associated with flares and the return of symptoms.
Participation in a mind body group for stress reduction has been shown to reduce IBD symptom severity and to improve quality of life. Regular elicitation of the relaxation response alters the expression of inflammatory molecules.
Keeping a positive attitude
How you decide to think about IBD and your relationship to the condition can a difference in how you feel. Some people turn IBD into the enemy or, even worse, deny it.
The more successful approach is to embrace IBD as part of you and your individual experience.
No, IBD isn’t who you are. But it is perhaps a major part of your story, and that story can be written by you. It can be a story about perseverance and strength. IBD can be a tough, tough disease. You are entitled to bad days and feeling down. But you do have control over how you perceive and cope with your the disease.
Keep in mind that poker players who win don’t necessarily get dealt the best cards. They win because they play the cards they’ve been dealt better than anyone else at the table.
Maybe IBD has dealt you a not-so-great hand. But you can still play those cards well and enjoy the best health possible.