Stress can trigger Raynaud’s attacks just as easily as exposure to cold temperatures. While we may not be able to easily control our environment against the cold, fortunately there are several strategies we can use to reduce our stress levels. The key is finding the ones that work best as stress (and Raynaud’s) relievers for you.
Here are several suggestions we recently found in an article in Entrepreneur Magazine – if anyone gets exposed to stress, it’s small business owners and start-up CEO’s!
- Take long deep breaths – lengthening the exhale helps calm the sympathetic nervous system which works to counter the stress response.
- Sing or hum – it has a similar effect in lengthening our exhales, thus slowing our breath and helps to calm us. We’ve also read that slower tempo music has a calming effect on your circulation, so choose the slow tunes for this strategy!
- Drink More Water – The theory is that staying hydrated helps us think better. If your hydration level drops too low, it’s more difficult to make decisions and process information, thus making us more stressed.
- Scan your physical body – Now this one felt odd to me: focusing on your body can easily make you stressed if you don’t like what you see! But the key here is if you engage your physical senses and get your mind off your worries, it can have a calming effect. So the focus is not on viewing your body, but on mentally scanning your body from the top of the head down to the feet and become aware of how it feels – do this two or three times and see if it works for you.
- View some vacation photos – Much like focusing on your body, viewing photos of a place where you experienced happy memories can be relaxing. Close your eyes and engage your senses to try and relive how you felt at that spot in that place and time.
- Create a ritual – one with pleasant associations, and really focus on the experience – your morning coffee, afternoon dog walk, etc. Don’t just go through the daily routine, really engage your mind in the process and it will let go of your immediate worries.
- Laugh out loud – it can help distance you from a stressful situation. Find something that brings a smile to your face (watch a funny video, hug your dog, or relive a fun experience). We find relief in humor.
If all of the above fails, here’s another suggestion we got from @BookofFactz on Twitter:
A morning kiss can help prevent against stress-related illnesses – it triggers hormones that help a person deal with pressure.
So tell your spouse or partner that your doctor prescribes a morning smooch: A kiss a day keeps the chills away!
Here’s the full article in Entrepreneur.