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How to Improve Self-Control to Battle Stress and Environmental Illness




Stressed woman expressed by modern art and word cloud

Having an environmental illness can be debilitating, painful and life-altering by itself, but add onto this the additional stress and anxiety caused by everyday life, and you have the perfect cocktail for feeling terrible. Anxieties can come in the form of those everyday worries, that are made worse by also having to deal with an environmental illness. Struggling through feeling unwell can be difficult, without the addition of unwanted stress. Thankfully, there are several methods of abating the waves of stress that can come from within, and help you feel just that little bit better. By improving on self-control coping mechanisms, which have been linked to stress factors, you can have a better handle on dealing with unnecessary or unexpected stress.

Stress-Proofing Ourselves

Stress-proofing yourself is the first step in handling what life throws at us, as well as our chronic conditions – this can include attempting to limit exposure to factors that cause stress. But that isn’t always an option. Stress has been proven to exacerbate key chronic illnesses, especially environment-based ones. Meditation and breathing exercises are a good short term defence, but for long-term stressors in our lives, there is more we can do – we just have to rewire the part of the brain responsible for self-control. So how do we do that?

Emotional Intelligence Training

The adage "mind over matter" usually has no scope for helping in an environmental illness, but, it can help in dealing with additional stress that might arise from living with an environmental illness. By using mindfulness, meditation, and CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy)-style exercises, the brain can be rewired into thinking yourself stress-free. Learning techniques that combat stress can be stressful in itself, which is why many opt for a refresher course in improving emotional intelligence, such as that offered by TalentSmart, which has been proven to assist in the learning of a new habit, which in turn will give a better perspective and focus on the stress in hand. Emotional intelligence training can adapt skills in self-control, which can help in the management of stress.

Mind Games

Mind games, such as chess or blackjack, can further help towards dealing with stress and anxiety caused by an EI by training the part of the brain responsible for self-control. Both games, and many others, are strategic and involve taking stock of a situation before making a decision, weighing up options, and biding time to reach the best option. Chess can be used to help analyse risk and plan for the long term with indeterminable factors, by judging moves alongside opponents moves. As stated by Betway Casino, playing blackjack focuses on understanding the stakes and working based on information and risk, it can help improve self-control in dealing with stress, in addition to its entertainment factor. Moreover, sudoku can also help improve self-control by taking time to work through something to completion, which has been proven to relax. By improving the analytical processes of the brain, self-control can be increased, which in turn can assist in the management of stress and analysing factors that can create and cause stress and anxiety.

Stressed woman with head in her hands


Much research has been undertaken in the field of self-control, often using sport to investigate best practices. The common theory is that there is a finite amount of self-control and each simultaneous act depletes the reserves (e.g. you wouldn’t try to give up smoking while also attempting a diet regime and fitness plan). Athletes are a prime example of using self-control to mitigate against stress – their anxiety of pressure during a major competition is akin to the daily stresses one might suffer alongside an environmental illness. The strength model of self-control outlined in terms of sports can also be deemed an example of cognitive load, which refers to a reaction to multiple stressors enacting on the brain. By practising as a sports player would on increasing cognitive load while still maintaining the strength method of self-control, factors that encourage stress can be lessened.

Stress release is a universal issue, but an extremely personal one in terms of discovering the best method for each individual. Indeed, stress itself can even cause more issues, and skew the results of many adrenal stress index (ASI) tests, which can help a positive diagnosis. The first strategy is to outline what causes unnecessary and excess stress in order to find any common links that can ascertain how to fight against it. Additional stress can be dangerous and unhelpful when battling an environmental illness and employing cognitive strengthening methods of self-control can help to manage the stressors of the environment.

View the very BEST Environmental Illness Videos!

1. Your Health is Governed by Your Environment | Prof. BM Hegde | TEDx Talk

2. Demystifying Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

3. Social Determinants of Health - An Introduction 



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