Stress can be detrimental to the wound healing process.
Many factors come into play when it comes to the wound healing process, from the dressings you choose to use to the foods you eat. But many people are unaware that stress levels also have a role in recovery. Those who are experience high amounts of tension or anxiety in their work, social or family lives may have difficulty healing from a wound, as these circumstances have the tendency to slow the process.
Several studies have shown that stress is linked to slow wound healing. In 2012, an analysis published in the journal Skin & Wound Care looked into the effect of stress on the patient’s ability to recover. Researchers evaluated several studies to come to a conclusion. One study involved 190 participants, most at the age of 60, who were asked to rate their anxiety and depression levels within the past week using a standardized rating system. The findings showed that those with the highest emotional distress – about one-fourth of all subjects – took longer to recover from their wounds and also reported experiencing more severe pain compared to those with lower levels of emotional distress.
Methods for reducing stress
With this information at hand, those recovering from a wound may find it in their best interest to reduce stress levels. There are many tools for combating anxiety and tension in your daily life, such as:
- Yoga and tai chi are known stress-reducers. The ancient techniques involve slow, steady movements or postures and incorporate mindful-meditation aimed at helping you expel negative thoughts and emotions, which can in turn help enhance the wound healing process.
- Stress journals are like diaries that help you track when and why you feel anxiety. Each time you experience stress, write down what caused it (make an educated guess if you’re uncertain), how you felt emotionally and physically, how you responded to it and what you did to make yourself feel better. This can help you determine the triggers of distress and find more productive ways to deal with them.
- Exercise is a well-known way to reduce stress. This can be something as simple as a stroll through the park or an afternoon of gardening, or you might join a gym or start participating in a sporting event. However, since your body is in recovery mode, you should be sure to consult your clinician before beginning an exercise regimen.