Studies show that our bodies are less able to cope with dizziness when we are under stress.
One reason for this is that the system that triggers nausea and dizziness also controls the “fight or flight” stress reflex.
When you are under stress, your body ramps up this stress reflex, making you breathe faster, increases your heart rate and increases your blood pressure. This also can make us nauseous and dizzy, even without a vestibular disorder. But when we do have a vestibular disorder, this will be even worse. And with worse symptoms severity, our stress levels increase more, and the cycle can become vicious.
Below you will find some stress management tips from menieres.org “Controlling Your Symptoms” booklet. Be sure to check it out as it goes into MUCH more depth than this blog.
Think about breathing from your belly in a slow and controlled manner. It may help to place one hand on your belly and one hand on your chest. When you breath, you want to feel the hand on your belly move in and out the most.
Scan through parts of your body, starting at your head and working your way to your toes. As you get to each body part, contract it and then release it.
If you find you keep thinking about your symptoms, or feel anxious or unhappy about them try thought tactics such as distraction and thought changing.
Distraction is best achieved by doing another task that you enjoy where you focus is on that task and not on your symptoms. If you try to stop thinking about something that generally doesn't work. So fill your mind with something else instead.
Thought Changing addresses thoughts and worries that may be causing us more stress than less. It may help to write down your thoughts and ask yourself a few questions such as:
Are my thoughts worse than my present situation?
Is this thought something that is actually likely to happen?
Are you worrying about things you cannot change?
Answering yes to these is the first step in stopping stressful thoughts!
Reduce stress in your life that you have control over. Key strategies such as Planning and time management can help you gain control over areas in your life that are causing you unnecessary stress. And be sure that with all the activities you have to do in a day, that some of those are what you want to do!
And don’t forget, having a solid vestibular physiotherapist as part of your healthcare team can make all the difference!