“Long-term stress that can cause outbreaks,” warns Dr. Frances Cohen, Ph.D., in an interview with WebMD.
That’s because stress compromises the strength and resilience of your immune system. This gives the virus a chance to break out, and you’ll begin to exhibit symptoms, whereas a healthy immune system helps suppress the virus and the signs of your virus.
According to the American Institute of Stress, 77 percent of American adults experience regular physical symptoms of stress, and a third of adults report that they live with extreme stress.
With both stress and the herpes virus being so extremely prevalent, the two go hand in hand. If you or your partner have the herpes virus, reduce your risks of outbreaks and restore your physical and mental health by taking proactive measures to get your stress under control. These proven de-stressing tips can help.
1. Autogenic Relaxation
This relaxation technique uses both self-awareness of your physical self, as well as powerful visual imagery, to release tension and stress.
Sit in a quiet and dark room and close your eyes. Envision being in a place that you find relaxing. Perhaps it’s a quiet coffee shop or a beach in Hawaii. This will look different to everyone, literally.
As you imagine yourself being transported to this relaxing location, repeat a relaxing mantra, such as “I am relaxed” or “I release my stress.” As you repeat these words and see yourself in a relaxing locale, slowly relax each limb and slow your breathing. You might even want to lie down. After a few minutes, your stress will dissipate.
2. Progressive Muscle Relaxation
With this de-stressing approach, you slowly relax each of your main muscle groups.
Lie down in a quiet room. First focus on your fingers and hands. Tense them, then slowly relax them. Work your way up to your forearm and biceps. Tense and flex them, then let them relax and release the muscle tension.
Continue through your body, tensing each muscle for 5 seconds, then relaxing the tension for 30 seconds. Take a deep breath and exhale when you’re completed each muscle and limb in your body, including your neck and shoulders where many people hold a lot of stress!