For many people, stress doesn’t just affect mental health—it impacts physical health, too. Being stressed out can cause headaches, sweating, rashes, pain—it can even raise your blood pressure and change your blood sugar levels. And if you have skin diseases, stress can lead to a frustrating, unsightly, and sometimes painful flare-up of symptoms. In fact, stress is one of the most common triggers for fare-ups.
Research over the last 30 years has shown that controlling stress by practicing meditation can greatly reduce symptoms. And meditation doesn’t only help manage the disease—it’s also been proven to significantly increase the efficacy of treatment. Regular meditation can decrease overall stress levels and can change the body’s response to stress, which in turn, decreases the likelihood of experiencing a psoriasis flare-up. Stress is one of the major triggers of psoriasis exacerbations—what experts call the “stress flare phenomenon.” While we aren’t sure exactly why stress causes flare-ups, we believe the immune system responds to mental stress the same way it responds to physical stress—with inflammation. This inflammation triggers psoriasis to flare up, which may create more stress—and so the cycle continues.
Find a meditation method you can do. There are guided meditations, breathing meditations, mantras, and more. There is a perfect method for you. Find it.
Diet and Lifestyle
The connection between skin disease and food allergies is unclear. If you have food allergies, then one of the reasons why you must avoid that food is that it may cause or worsen dermatitis. Examples of common allergies include peanuts, dairy, eggs, sugar, alcohol, and gluten. Pay attention to what you eat. If your eczema flares up after you eat a certain food, then you might have an allergy to it.
Similarly, you might experience a flare-up after you consume foods and ingredients that are known to be inflammatory. Examples include added sugars (think: soda), refined carbohydrates (think: pastries), and gluten (think: white bread).
If you’ve been noticing a connection between flares and certain foods, talk with your doctor and a certified dietician to see whether eliminating those foods for a period of time might help.
The Mediterranean diet is a way of eating that's based on the traditional cuisines of Greece, Italy and other countries that border the Mediterranean Sea.
Plant-based foods, such as whole grains, vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices, are the foundation of the diet. Olive oil is the main source of added fat.
Fish, seafood, dairy and poultry are included in moderation. Red meat and sweets are eaten only occasionally.
It’s not necessary to become an athlete to enjoy the benefits of exercise. A 30-minute walk or bike ride can change your stress level. A few minutes enjoying nature, fresh air and stillness will do a world of good.
For those who are more energetic an intense 10-to-30-minute workout will release endorphins that are a natural positive force.
Look for something that suits you and do it on a regular basis.
Thinking enough of yourself to find the correct diet for you, a simple way to meditate and get exercise can help keep your psoriasis at bay. Any topical treatment that you use will be much more effective in the long run.