The official blog of the Lung Institute.
If there is one thing that everyone in the world experiences at some point, it’s the feeling of being stressed. Sometimes, it’s the little things that stresses people out: a missed lunch date, extra traffic during a morning commute or Starbucks coffee that is too hot to drink. Other times, people face huge decisions that can lead to excessive stress: to have children, to go back to college, to take a new job or to choose an alternative medical treatment. It’s no surprise that people’s lives are filled with stress. Simply put, people have a lot going on.
The Relationship Between Stress and Lung Disease
When it comes to people suffering from a chronic lung disease, there is an extra layer of stress inherently added on the day of diagnosis. I have an incurable disease. It’s a terrifying, fear-inducing and downright scary thought. In addition, sufferers of lung disease are often shown limited options: a highly invasive lung reduction or a lung transplant. No wonder, lung disease can induce stress. Unfortunately, the complex relationship between stress and lung disease goes even further.
It is a vicious circle. First, sufferers are stressed due to their condition; second, sufferers trigger flare-ups due to their stress levels; third, the additional flare-ups and stress levels worsen their condition; and finally, the sufferers become increasingly stressed—the cycle goes on.
The impact of stress on the body is far too great to continue along the path of a stressful destruction. Rather, people of all kinds—whether you suffer from a chronic lung disease or not—are encouraged to learn how they can manage their stress and live with a higher quality of life.
Your Guide to Stress Management
With the millions of resources available online, it seems as if every Tom, Dick and Sally has some two-cents to add about the best way to manage stress. Many times though, Tom, Dick and Sally forget something very important: stress management is a highly individualized tool. That means that just because one tactic doesn’t work, there are plenty of other options that could work perfectly for you. In order to see the variety of stress management options out there, I spoke with several Lung Institute team members to hear how they deal with their everyday stress. Check out some of their answers below:
“I’ve always turned to the wisdom from the serenity prayer when I’m stressed. ‘Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.’” – Melissa, Lung Institute SEO Analyst
“I run. I leave behind my cell phone and iPod; I separate myself from the digital world. Then I focus on whatever problem I’m having. Typically, by the time I return, I have it sorted out.” –Gary, Lung Institute Digital Marketing Manager
“Stand-up comedy. There is nothing better for stress than a little laughter.” –Irene, HR Manager
“Sometimes I feel stress before I know what’s causing it so I typically need to remove myself from my situation. I try to minimize the amount of things I see and the things I hear so I’m able to actually think through what’s causing my stress. Once I have it narrowed down, I breathe, and then I organize the steps to solve the problem. Once the steps are in front of me, it doesn’t seem like such a big problem.” –Marlena, Patient Coordinator
“When I’m stressed, I meditate. Most of the time, I try to avoid that stress meltdown moment by focusing on the present. By concentrating on the present, I can limit my stress levels.” –James, Associate Creative Director
“I have a mini-jam session. Whether it is in my car stuck in traffic or sitting on my couch alone, I crank up the tunes and just relax. Sometimes I choose classical piano, and sometimes I go for Taylor Swift. No matter what, I just let my mind wander wherever the music takes her.” –Cara (me), Creative Copywriter
Learning how to manage your stress isn’t going to happen overnight. It will require dedication and trial-and-error. Most importantly, you need to remember to take it one breath at a time. If you find it difficult to breathe easy because of a chronic lung disease, stem cell therapy may be able to help. Contact the Lung Institute patient coordinators at (800) 729-3065 for more information.