Stress making you sick?

When I was a little girl I remember thinking how miraculous it seemed that when I got a cut that my body would form a scab, like it’s own Bandaid, and get to work healing itself.

Today, I’m amazed watching my daughter’s body heal from her recent bike accident.  She has stitches in her lip holding the wound together long enough for her body to do its job of healing itself.

Her body is healing so quickly that she looks different when she gets home from school than she did when I put her on the bus.

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Miraculous, isn’t it?

Trillions of cells all working together in harmony to keep the body alive and repair itself.

Until, it doesn’t feel like harmony and instead like headaches, indigestion, or illness.

When ease in the body turns into various forms of dis-ease.

The major culprit? STRESS.

Western and Eastern medicine agree that stress is one of the major causes of illness.

Stress prevents the body from going into its natural healing state.

In fact, stress works SO WELL at preventing the body from healing itself that surgeons will give transplant recipients a stress hormone before surgery to suppress their immune system and prevent their body from fighting off the transplanted organ.

And yet, many believe that if you’re “working hard,” “doing a good job,” and “contributing to your family” that you should be STRESSED because you CARE.

Many also believe that stress and busyness are indications of being SUCCESSFUL.

It’s another way of hustling for your worthiness.

All of these are cultural rules need to be questioned (read more on that here.)

Believing these types of cultural rules can create a cycle of wanting to feel worthy, working harder, feeling more stress, then wanting to feel worthy and repeating the cycle.

The rules and stress are costing us.

And, illness is one of the costs.

But, there is good news.

We CAN make shifts to question the rules and minimize stress to create an environment for healing and thriving.

It begins with more ease in the mind.

Here are a few suggestions to help create more ease in the mind + body:

  1. Meditation: It’s free and always available to you. Meditation decreases stress hormones and allows the body to heal itself, sleep better, think better, and feel better emotionally. Check out the “Mindful” section of Ease magazine for a guided meditation with Deepak Chopra.

  2. Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR): Founded by Jon Kabat-Zinn, MBSR is an 8-week, evidence based program proven to help reduce stress, anxiety and illness. The 8-week course is now available at Sounds True so you can do it from home, although in-person has the added benefit of community support. Check it out here.

  3. Write your own rules. Did you read my article? Here it is again. This one isn’t a quick and dirty solution. It takes practice, but holds the potential for you to feel empowered in your life.

  4. Practice self-compassion: We can be so dang hard on ourselves. A stressful situation can turn into mentally replaying and beating ourselves up for it. Instead, reach for compassion. Here. are some self-compassion meditations and exercises.

  5. Get help from an expert: If your stress levels are high enough that you’re having trouble functioning throughout a normal day, it’s time to seek some help. You can begin by asking for referrals from your primary care physician or check out a local wellness center to see if they have mental health care available.


If you want some help sorting things out, like life transitions, questioning cultural rules, or pursuing something new, find a coach. You can schedule a Discovery Coaching session with me here to get started.

Xo Sarah Papp.png