February 25, 2014

Taking stress out of hepatitis C

by Opiferum
February 25, 2014

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Stress is a part of life in today's fast lane. From sitting in traffic to spending too much time worrying about the future, there are plenty of forms of stress. As we all react to stress on an individual basis, what might be stressful to you is a very personal experience. Therefore, the way in which we recognize and manage stress is vital, especially if you live with hepatitis C. After all, the effects of stress on liver disease are numerous. They include decreased hepatic (liver) blood flow, severity of liver disease, elevated ALT levels, liver cell death and worsening of liver disease. Reading a long list of symptoms is stressful enough to read, so it is no wonder we can find ourselves suffering from stress without even realizing it. So ask yourself, do you know when was the last time you were stressed without realizing it? Identifying unrecognized stress is a task in itself, as it is so easy to push stressful thoughts into our subconscious where they will lay dormant. Sometimes, this is not only the most difficult form of stress to identify, but prevent. After all, it is impossible to guarantee when stress might strike. Self-awareness is a great way in which to realize for yourself how much unrecognized stress affects those of us living with the hepatitis C virus. Let's take a look at some ways in which to reduce stress.

S - strive for flexibility;
T - take time to decide where your boundaries are in a relationship;
R - relax and take a deep breath, as sometimes, the time it takes to breathe is all it takes to realize that a step back is the safest place to be;
E - eat hep C friendly food, because it will put less stress on your liver;
S - sleep when your body is telling you it needs rest;
S - seek clarification, because we can make wrongful interpretations of a situation based on second-guessing what the other person is thinking (or doing).

Such simple steps might sound silly, but there is a lot to be said about “keeping things simple”. This is because stress is more often a build up of reactions we store without realizing. Now that social-media is a large part of our modern world, we are faced with more pressure than ever before. Red-flag alerts, notifications and spam now command our attention on the internet. We might spend more time making comments on social networking sites than taking the time to talk to our loved ones, face-to-face. As well, we are at risk of not feeling safe on the world wide web. Have you had a holiday from the internet recently? If not, take the challenge and you might discover just how much less stressful it is to keep up with the virtual world!

Stress is like a toxic weed, it can grow in any condition without any food or nutrients. All it needs is a person not to be aware of it. Sometimes, the best way to deal with stress is to tune into one's self and truly feel what it feels like, so as to know what it really is. Not knowing how stress feels is almost more stressful than stress itself! For those of us that live with the hepatitis C virus, our reactions to situations might be more sensitive. This can make us more vulnerable to stress, which is why knowing how stress affects you is a unique and wonderful way in which to help reduce it. With just a few minutes per day, it is possible to learn to live with stress in a healthier way. It might just be as simple as becoming more flexible, or eating healthier food: it just depends on YOU.

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