Stress And Illness–Part 2

by Doc Orman, M.D.

Stress And Illness- Part 2

This week, I am exploring certain aspects of the relationship between stress and physical illness. Specifically, I will be focusing on three key aspects of this relationship:

1)    Physical symptoms or health problems which develop within us;

2)    Physical symptoms or health problems which develop in others we care about;

3)    Concerns about developing physical symptoms or health problem which haven’t yet occurred.

On Monday, I briefly covered how sickness of any kind can often be a major source of additional stress in our lives. If you missed that discussion, here is the link:

Health Problems Within Us

Health Problems Within Others That Cause Us To Become Stressed

Today, I want to talk about how health problems which develop in other people, especially people we care about like friends and family members, can also result in us becoming stressed.  Here it’s not our own fears, concerns, physical limitations, or our own health issues that may be triggering us to become stressed, but rather it is any concerns or worries we might have about others (and also about how their illness might negatively impact us).

Just as when we become sick we often can end up feeling angry, irritable, depressed, or even hostile, the same emotions can occur when we have heightened fears and concerns about others.  Also, we can become pulled into having to assist with trips to doctors, hospitals, and other parts of the health care system, with all the many frustrations, red tape, waiting, and other upsetting things that frequently occur. In addition, we too can feel helplessness, hopelessness, or guilty when someone close to us becomes ill, and similar concerns can arise about finances, pain our loved ones might be experiencing, recovery odds, permanent disability and again even death. So many of the same issues which come up to make our own personal illnesses into highly stressful experiences may also arise when someone close to us becomes ill.

Common Internal Causes

There are a number of very common thought patterns and behavior patterns which can become triggered within us when someone we care about becomes ill.  If we are not aware of these hidden causes of stress in these situations, these internal causes can often get the better of us.

These include internal thoughts such as: 

-“It’s so unfair what happened to this person.”

-“If I worry hard enough, maybe I can help them get well.”

-“Why aren’t the doctors, nurses, therapists, social workers doing more for this person?”

-“If I try hard enough, I can make them feel better.”

-“This is terrible; their life is going to be ruined.”

 

And behavior patterns such as: 

-Trying to control the wrong things.

-Trying to force the other person to do things that might make them better.

-Blaming the person (or yourself) for their illness.

-Failing to deal with the situation positively, optimistically and creatively. 

Once again, these are just a few of the internal causes that can increase our stress when people we care about unfortunately get sick.  Hopefully, the few I have briefly highlighted here will lead you to think about many more. 

Please return to this blog on Friday, where I will cover the third key aspect of how stress and illness are related—our concerns about illness (in ourselves or others) that hasn’t actually happened yet. 

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Also, if you’d like to view all of my stress relief Kindle books on Amazon, simply click on the link below:

http://ormanstressrelief.com/kindlebooks

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