Dwelling on Stressful Events can Increase Inflammation
A new study published by Ohio University shows that dwelling on events you consider stressful can increase inflammation.
(High levels of inflammation are implicated in numerous health concerns ranging from Arthritis and Asthma to Cancer and Heart disease).
The study looks at a group of people. They make them give a speech as though interviewing for a position. Half are made to talk about how they think they did, while the other half are asked about other things that have nothing to do with the speech or interview. C-reactive protein which is a known marker of inflammation is then measured in both groups. The group which was made to continue to think about their performance had higher levels of C-reactive protein than their peer group which was allowed to forgot about the experience.
Now personally, I dont think this is a great experimental design. You may have individuals within both groups that are more or less likely to dwell on things as part of their normal actions- whether theyre prompted by the individuals administering the test or not. I for one know that its not just possible, but common for some people (Yes I am admitting to being one of those people) to be able to remain focused on all of their perceived screw ups while still being able to maintain an amiable conversation. So I am going to take this all with a grain of salt.
However, I think this study still likely holds a kernel of truth- and in that case.... I am SO screwed.
Personally, its hard for me not to dwell on stressful events- I think theres one in particular that is probably glaringly obvious for any of you who have read more than one entry on this blog. (insert awkward grin). In school I stressed myself out studying the two days before a test (because seriously- why would anyone waste time studying further ahead than that), or writing papers the weekend before/ day it was due (depending on required length of course) and then I would continue to drive myself crazy about them until I got back my grades. Its seemed minuscule at the time, but is very similar to the type of event mentioned in this study.
Ive known for quite sometime that this is something I need to work on. For the simplistic as well as the more serious stressful events in life.
...In the meantime- maybe I should start taking an anti-inflammatory regularly.
How do you manage stress?