How Much Water Could Fit in Your Headache? My Secret to Controlling Stress-related Headaches.
Everybody has heard of or knows someone that has been hospitalized for stress related symptoms. Anxiety, headaches, heart palpitations, chest pains, backaches, blood pressure, even ringing in the ears. There are many symptoms of stress and just as many remedies for them, but to treat the symptoms of stress is just as foolish as treating the symptoms for any other ailment. It doesn't affect the cause enough to stop the episodes. Stress is a killer and should be taken very seriously. Seriously enough that if you suffer from any one of it's symptoms you need to take action, now!
Stress can take many forms and is sometimes mistaken for or even mis-diagnosed as something else. It is fundamental to reduce the level of stress in your life and there are many ways to do this. You must first determine what it is in your life that is causing the reaction you are having. Some people react to loud noises as a stressful situation while others are unaffected. The proximity of crowds may do the same thing for you or you may relish the big crowd. Whatever it is must be identified so you can come to grips with it. If it can't be eliminated, and more often than not it can, then you must learn to make peace with it and create a "work around". Biofeedback comes in different forms and is a tremendously powerful tool for many different issues in our lives. I sometimes suffer from excruciating headaches due to an old neck injury. I hate taking medication of any type and will try almost anything to avoid it. I control these headaches with a simple technique taught to me by my wife (bless her heart). Whenever I am in the grip of one of these tension headaches I find a quiet place, sit or lie down, close my eyes and breathe deeply several times. Then in my mind I ask myself four simple questions;
First, "where is my headache?", and then I take a slow deep breath. I actually answer myself (in my mind) and describe specifically where it is. Behind my eyes, in the back of my head, in my left temple, wherever it is. Mine usually occur at the base of my skull and radiate up and along the right side of my head over my ear.
Second, how big is my headache? slow deep breath. I equate the size of it to the first image that comes to mind, a dollar bill, a cell phone, a Snickers bar. Anything relative to the size. Focus on seeing the headache and another deep relaxing breath.
Third, "if it could hold water, how much would it hold? Focus and another deep relaxing breath. A thimbleful, a cup, a handful, how much?
Lastly "what color is it? I know, your eyes are closed and you are dealing with an intangible, or are you. Seriously, look inside at the headache and you'll be amazed but there are indeed colors associated with it. What color is yours? Focus, relax, another deep breath.
Now do it again, and again, and again until the headache disappears, and it will. Once the pain is gone figure out what caused it and stop doing it. This is a very simple form of biofeedback, the same tool that can be used to reduce the anxiety and relieve the symptoms of stress.
Other things that can be very helpful are animals. Researchers have proven over the years that watching the fish in a nicely kept aquarium does more to reduce blood pressure than most medications. Interacting with a nice dog or cat or bunny will relieve stress and lower blood pressure. Animals seem to have a very soothing effect on people. Of course it has to be the right type of animal (snakes and badgers usually don't work well for most people). Music is always helpful, if it is the kind of music you like and are comforted by, whether it is rock and roll, classical, R&B or hip-hop. Believe it or not watching a good movie can calm and relax you to the point that it reduces the effects of stress (horror and thrillers aside).
All of these things are great at helping to relieve the symptoms but the key to their success still lies within. You must ultimately identify and deal effectively with the cause of the stress. Is it in your relationship with a loved one, an enemy, your employer or your job (the most common)? Take heart, take a break and take control. You can positively affect the stress in your life.