Stress is a controversial topic because there is a misconception that all stress is bad or comes from bad things. The truth is that some of the happiest moments in life are stressful. Our bodies were also made to use stress to keep us safe from harm. Not all stress is bad but sometimes the way our bodies react to it is.
The Stress Connection
My Doctor tells me all the time that my “migraine brain” is very sensitive. Things that do not impact other people will wreak havoc on my body. Things like weather changes, lack of sleep, sickness and other “normal” events will trigger severe migraines. Basically, my body treats these things like stressors and it reacts in a negative way.
What Does this Mean?
This means that my brain overreacts to to things it should not react to. This does NOT mean that my migraines are not real and it does NOT mean that they are not serious. It took me a long time not to get frustrated when a doctor would tell me that something was stress related. Yes, many doctors use this in a condescending way but that is wrong and is why there is a stigma.
In an article by the American Migraine Foundation, Dr. Peter Goadsby says, “The migraine brain is vulnerable to change such as sleep and stress, and is therefore best kept stable”.
What Can be Done?
Learning how to manage stress is extremely important. When your body reacts severely to things like a bad night’s sleep, it is imperative to manage actual stressors. Teaching yourself how to manage the stress of your job, relationships and other day to day stressors will make these semmingly “normal” events less of a concern.
I find that I have to get good sleep and that is the most important thing that I can do for myself. If I am not sleeping enough, my brain becomes even more sensitive to things that it shouldn’t. Not sleeping can start a snowball effect that will create a storm in my body. Although I have not found the perfect solution for my insomnia, I do actively work on different solutions.
To read more about my struggle with insomnia, read The Elusive Sleep.
Having a Plan
In my fight with Chronic Migraine, I find that having a plan for different situations helps me a lot. For example, if a weather front is coming, I know that I may struggle more. I need to plan ahead for meals, medication and just get mentally ready. I also need to make sure that I am getting sleep even if it means taking medication.
Having a plan makes me feel like I have control even in situations where I may not. I can not control the weather but I can control how I handle my body’s reaction to it.
Our bodies can react in a negative way to stress. If you get Migraines, this can trigger a migraine episode. Managing stress by getting enough sleep and planning for situations can help manage that stress connection.