A little support goes a long way

Posted on by Sam

Are you stressed? Are there moments when you’re more stressed than others? Do you feel more often than not stressed out beyond belief?

The American Psychological Association recently reported that 33% of Americans felt they were experiencing extreme amounts of stress. Half of those reported feeling that way at least 15 days a month. That number may not seem like a lot, but, upon looking at the list of side effects stress can cause, suddenly it becomes apparent that stress is a growing health concern. Stress can aggravate almost any organ, any bodily function, and any illness. The good news is there are multiple ways that we can work to destress and calm ourselves down.

Lately, we’ve been getting a lot of requests for support group listings on our Facebook page. Support groups are a great way to get the social and emotional support that many people struggling with an illness like lymphedema need. We all know how good it feels to connect with someone else. It helps to share stories and have stories shared with you. As time goes on, more and more research is found to support the belief that a strong source of social and emotional support can help improve our quality of life and help us live longer. According to the American Institute of Stress, being stressed can cause your blood pressure to spike, but receiving emotional support can reduce its rise. It can also boost the immune system by helping combat irregularities caused by stress.

This kind of interaction doesn’t just have to come from a support group, though many find it helps to be in the company of others who know what they’re going through. People can get a healthy dose of social and emotional support from pets, religious affiliation and beliefs, and supporting a cause that they believe in.

If you’re feeling stressed and looking for a support group in your area, here are a couple of resources to help you locate one:

National Lymphedema Network –  You can search their support group database by zip code or state. They also have an international listing.
LymphNotes.com –  This listing is categorized by state. You can also get your support group listed for free.
Lymphedema People – Support groups are grouped by state.

There are also a lot of online resources and forums that you can join which can connect you to people with lymphedema around the world. Here are a few:

Treatment Diaries – Posts are grouped by diagnosis and you can connect with people with multiple different conditions.
Daily Strength – Members can post anonymously in a forum-type environment.
MDJunction – Online support group.

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