Patient Blogs | Migraine
How I Manage Stress and Anxiety With Migraine
photo of woman practicingyoga on the beach

Taking on more than you can handle is a sure-fire way to raise your stress levels. Especially as people with migraine, we feel the stress of letting people down when we have to cancel because of an episode.

So we might feel the need to do too much when having a migraine-free day. We need to set firm boundaries and stick to them. If we don't take care of ourselves, how will we care for others?

Anxiety and stress can be significant factors in migraine attacks, but please don't insult or trigger someone by implying their migraine results from anxiety. Many migraine warriors will tell you their migraine causes their stress, not the other way around.

I was in denial about the impact of my stress and anxiety levels on my attacks for years since I'm rarely sick outside of migraine episodes. It caused unnecessary grief. Don't be me.

Are you clenching your jaw while you read this? I find it helps to be constantly aware of the muscle tension in my jaw, neck, and shoulders. I carry a lot, underscore, a lot of stress in my shoulders, and if I stay aware of the muscles in these parts of my body, I can preempt stress and anxiety as a trigger.

Stop. Breathe. Focus. Calm is one of my favorite guided meditation apps. It helps reduce my stress and anxiety by focusing on where I am right now. And yes, you get a lot of offerings with the free version.

Although yoga is excellent for managing stress and anxiety, it's not for everyone. I've found a few alternatives to help if yoga isn't for you. They include taking an Epsom salt bath (check with your doctor if you have high blood pressure) and acupressure mats.

All acupressure mats are not equal. Some acupressure mats are seriously like medieval torture, so remember, if it's too painful to lie on the mat, there's a problem. They should apply pressure, not gut-wrenching pain.

I know there are mixed views on what I'm about to say next, but I also use peppermint essential oils to manage my stress and anxiety. I am aware that some essential oils have caused flare-ups for some people with migraine. But for me, the peppermint oil blend from Plant Therapy is sent from up above. I dilute it with a carrier oil (jojoba or coconut) and apply it to the back of my neck and temples.

Riddle me this: Are you breathing correctly? Just taking a few minutes to close your eyes and focus on your breathing can do wonders for your stress level.

Breathing is beneficial to everything we do, but we don't often think about it since it's a reflex (for most of us). 

Have you noticed that you experience migraines on Monday? The stress associated with starting the week after 2 days of relaxation is usually a strong trigger. I know I can't be the only one experiencing the dread of a Monday for this reason. How do you cope with the almost instant stress that starting a new work week can bring?

Tap into a community of fellow migraineurs on Facebook. Learn, share, connect in our Migraine Support Community.



Photo Credit: Marco VDM / E+ via Getty Images

Tell us what you think of this post?
0 Like
0 Sad
0 Cheered up
0 Empowered
0 Care
WebMD Patient Blog © 2022 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

Important: The opinions expressed in WebMD Blogs are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. Blogs are not reviewed by a WebMD physician or any member of the WebMD editorial staff for accuracy, balance, objectivity, or any other reason except for compliance with our Terms and Conditions. Some of these opinions may contain information about treatments or uses of drug products that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service or treatment.

Do not consider WebMD Blogs as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your care plan or treatment. WebMD understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified health care provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911 immediately.

Naki Carter

Naki Carter

Diagnosed since 2001

For nearly 20 years, Naki Carter has been living with migraine. Formerly an award-winning journalist, she is committed to ending the stigma around the invisible illness. Carter lives in South Florida near lots of family and friends, where she enjoys a daily dose of “vitamin sea.” Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Latest Blog Posts From Naki Carter

My Advice to Someone Living With Migraine

My Advice to Someone Living With Migraine

How do you find the motivation to not go to a dark place when being in constant migraine pain with no relief? You keep telling yourself ...

Read more
Things Only Migraine Warriors Understand

Things Only Migraine Warriors Understand

Everyone has different levels of pain and discomfort tolerance. I've had all sorts of pains throughout my life, but this time it was different.

Read more