RA-Friendly Ways to Tame Stress Today

Stress can increase inflammation and intensify joint pain. Here’s how to ease anxiety and better control your rheumatoid arthritis. 

Susan Amoruso
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Hug it out
A simple hug can do wonders for your mood. In a study presented in Psychosomatic Medicine, couples sat close to each other, talked for 10 minutes and then shared a long hug. The result? They had a rise in oxytocin, the feel-good hormone known to reduce stress and lower blood pressure.

Say yes to sex
In addition to being a good diversion from our worries, sex has been shown to positively affect our ability to manage stress. One study showed that participants who had recently had intercourse tended to have either less of a rise in blood pressure or a lower baseline blood pressure, or both. Not in the mood for lovemaking? A simple smooch is also proved to bust stress: Married or cohabiting couples who kiss frequently show lower levels of stress and depression.

Hit the snooze button
More than 85% of respondents in a National Sleep Foundation survey said poor sleep affects their mood, 72% said it affects their family life and responsibilities and 68% said it impedes their social life. Lack of sleep can also worsen symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, including pain, fatigue and depression, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine

Find the funny
Pop in a humorous flick, or check out some comedians on YouTube. Even the mere anticipation of a humorous event can help reduce your body’s stress hormones, according to researchers at Loma Linda University in California. 

April 2013