Why We Need to Use Pacing Skills With Chronic Conditions
When looking at the reasons we need to pace its important to start with the autonomic nervous system (ANS), as it can both be a cause of predisposed disorders turning on, and inflammation in the body that worsens current disorders.
Next, we should also look at how our bodies make energy because that will impact any fatigue symptoms you might have. After reviewing these area’s we will gain a deeper understanding of what happens in the body that’s impacting us daily. After which we will move on to how we can learn to pace our bodies to lower symptoms.
So I wanted to post today and dive into the autonomic nervous system as it is impacted by both chronic conditions and our stress. It is through this connection that the nervous system acts as a hidden cause of predisposed disorders and through constant stress can even worsen these disorders. Numerous research studies, and Doctors like Gabor Mate and Bessel Van der Kolk, discuss this topic in great depth. And right now I just wanted to briefly review what is known about how stress affects our chronic conditions as they have thoroughly shown that stress is associated with all non-genetically inherited conditions, and that it can also be a trigger for predisposed conditions. So how did we get these conditions?
To understand it further you need to delve into predispositions. So think of your DNA strand with each gene as a light switch that your born with and all the genes you have that are not dominant are in the off position. You have them they just aren’t on. More specifically though, our DNA contains genes that are expressed (like blue eyes and blond hair) these are dominant traits that are again like light switches turned on. And others that are not expressed due to the presence of something called the epigenome. These predispositions can be turned on or off like a switch based on various lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise, and mental health (Mate, 2023). This means that stress and trauma can directly impact our physical health through our genetics. For example, if someone has a predisposition to diabetes but maintains a healthy lifestyle, that predisposition may not be activated. However, if they experience high levels of stress and unhealthy habits, that predisposition could be turned on and result in diabetes. Thus, stress has a large impact on disorders that we have genetic links to and its also a catalyst. As stress can have a significant impact on chronic conditions, as it can exacerbate the existing symptoms and potentially lead to the development of new conditions that is not a predisposed condition. Chronic stress can cause physical changes in the body, such as an increase in cortisol levels, which can contribute to inflammation and tissue damage. This can lead to a range of health issues, including cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disorders, and mental health conditions.
While stress can contribute to the development or worsening of chronic conditions, it is not necessarily the sole cause. Many chronic conditions have a multifactorial etiology, meaning that they arise from a combination of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. However, chronic stress can be a significant contributing factor in many cases and should be addressed as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. Strategies for managing stress, such as mindfulness practices, exercise, and therapy, can all be helpful in reducing the impact of stress on chronic conditions.
That's just a little of how I understand chronic conditions and I'd love to hear about how you understand them and if you have any questions.
I also go over how pacing can help and how our chronic conditions can cause crash cycle's in our counselling practices youtube channel that you can check out here: www.youtube.com/watch
Or you can check out our online chronic health counselling: www.thewoodscounselling.com