Law of Attraction: How to Stay Positive in Bad Times
How to Stay Positive when You Have Arthritis
Staying positive with arthritis might seem like a challenge. You can improve your feelings by being gentle and generous with yourself, getting support from friends and family, and focusing on your future. You should also take direct action like changing your diet, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep, all of which can have direct positive impacts on both your mood and your arthritis symptoms. Finally, stay aware of your attitude and keep your situation in perspective by being honest with yourself about your fears and anxieties related to arthritis, and evaluating your condition within the “big picture.”
Improving Your Feelings
Engage in self-care.Self-care describes the process of being kind, forgiving, and generous with yourself. Treat yourself to a new perfume or a cool jacket you like. Schedule time at your local massage parlor or spa. Or just give yourself time to relax and decompress at home by reading a book or watching TV. These small acts of self-kindness will make you feel better about your situation.
Use positive self-talk.Instead of saying to yourself, “I am a loser because I have arthritis,” you should say, “It’s not my fault I developed arthritis. It happens to many people.” When you encounter a negative thought, push it away and counter it with a positive thought.
- For instance, if you observe yourself thinking, “I will never get better. My every waking moment will be filled with pain,” envision it as a red balloon in your mind’s eye. Then, let the balloon go and imagine it floating far away from you, never to return.
- Picture a group of blue balloons floating down to replace the red one, each representing a positive thought like “I have a happy future ahead of me” and “There are many options for treating arthritis symptoms.”
Get support.Surround yourself with people who care about and love you. Find and join an arthritis support group. Connecting with others who are going through the same thing you are will help you maintain a positive perspective and make you feel less alone.
- Talk to your support group. Family, friends, and support group members are there to listen and sympathize with you. Confide in them and be honest about your condition, whether you’re doing well or poorly.
- Maybe set up standing lunch dates or other ways of spending time with your support network to help ensure that you see them regularly.
- Avoid people who say things like, “Your arthritis is not that serious” or “Everyone has personal problems – don’t be a baby.”
- You can find a support group by asking your doctor for recommendations or contacting arthritis organizations like Arthritis Introspective or the Arthritis Foundation.
- Pain management is also a very common theme in therapy. Seek out a therapist who can help you learn to cope with pain and deal with co-occurring depression or anxiety.
Think about your future.Staying focused on your future means you’re not focused on your discomfort in the present, and that can help you maintain a positive perspective. You should look forward to both the near and long-term future, and imagine managing your arthritic pain and symptoms.
- In the near-term, you might look forward to going to see a movie with friends, or enjoying a great meal with your neighbors. Remember that it is very important to have things to look forward to! Again, standing appointments can help with this.
- You might also look further into the future, to think about career goals, educational opportunities, and – most importantly – a life with few to no arthritis symptoms.
- Make a list of your goals, hopes, and dreams.
- Develop a realistic strategy to meet your goals and work to follow it. For example, if your goal is to graduate from college, you should investigate local colleges, find one that matches your interests and needs, and send in a few applications.
Learn more about arthritis.In life, the unknown is often a source of great anxiety and fear. If you don’t know much about arthritis, it can be hard to have a positive perspective about it. The more you know about your condition, the better you’ll be able to maintain a realistic perspective, and avoid sliding into misery and negative thinking. Use conversations with your doctor, reputable online resources, and books at your local library to answer questions like:
- Can I die from arthritis? (Your doctor should tell you that you cannot die from arthritis.)
- Is there a cure for arthritis? (There is no cure for arthritis, but there are many symptom management techniques.)
- What are the best foods for arthritic people? (Fruits and vegetables are the best foods for people with arthritis.)
- Is arthritis contagious? (Your research will reveal that arthritis is not contagious.)
Focus on the good things in life.Even if you have limitations due to arthritis, remember that you can still enjoy lots of things, such as beautiful weather, reading, and great conversations with your friends. Identify things you enjoy doing and people you enjoy spending time with. Take time out of your day to appreciate them.
- For instance, if you really like painting, write a “Thank you” note to your paints and brushes. You might write: “I enjoy painting so very much. Without art, life would be very bland and boring.”
- If you’re thankful for a person, you should call them, write them a letter, or let them know in person that you really appreciate having them in your life. You could, for instance, say, “I am very thankful to have you in my life. Thank you for being there for me.”
- Try to express gratitude for someone or something each day. One way to do this is to keep a gratitude journal and read it regularly. Perhaps start your mornings with affirming gratitude to set the tone for a positive day. For example, you might express gratitude for a good night’s sleep, a good cup of coffee, or a beautiful sunrise.
Taking Back Control
Exercise regularly.Exercise releases endorphins – biological compounds that can improve your mood, relieve stress, and give you an emotional boost. Moving about can seem a chore when you have arthritis, but could should engage in exercise anyway. Talk with your doctor before beginning any exercise regimen.
- For instance, you could try weight training. Choose a pair of light hand weights and lift them to your chin at least 12 times. Rest briefly and repeat two more times. If you find you are not tired after lifting this mass, increase the weight slightly in two-pound increments. Lift in this way every other day.
- Walk for about 15 minutes each day. As your stamina increases, increase the time you spend walking in 5 minute increments.
- You might experience some pain when you first start exercising, but it will dissipate in the short term as you continue your workout and in the long term as you build strength.
- If you have serious pain – from moderate to severe – before working out, engage in a lighter workout, or try working out another area. For instance, if your arthritis is in your knees, just try lifting weights, or walking for five minutes instead of 15.
- Stop exercising immediately if you have moderate or severe pain during your workout.
Get enough sleep.If you don’t get enough sleep, you are more likely to experience depression and anxiety. Sleeping enough can not only improve your mood and keep you positive, but it can also reduce your arthritis symptoms. Adopt a regular bedtime and wakeup time.
- Aim for about eight hours of sleep each night.
- Don’t eat or look at any LCD screens within three hours of your bedtime.
- Make your room as dark as possible when sleeping. Close your blinds and turn the lights off.
- Regulate the temperature and try to keep it between 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the optimal temperature range for sleep.
- Keep your phone off or far away from you so that you aren’t awakened by its sounds during the night.
Eat right.Some foods will exacerbate your arthritis, while others will relieve your arthritis symptoms. Try keeping a food journal to keep track of what foods seem to make your arthritis worse and what foods agree with you. Making positive decisions about your meals is empowering and will improve your attitude.
- Fish, soy (either tofu or edamame), olive oil, broccoli, green tea, and cherries are among the best foods for reducing arthritic inflammation.
- On the other hand, you should avoid processed foods loaded with sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats. Steer clear of potato chips, sweet candies, soda, red meat, cookies, and donuts. Alcohol, too, can cause inflammation and should be avoided.
Take action.Many people use their arthritis or other medical conditions to conduct outreach and draw attention to their situation. You could, for instance, start an arthritis support group in your hometown, or create a website where people with arthritis can congregate and talk about their experiences. Using your arthritis as an inspiration to do something positive for others can help buoy your mood.
Reflecting On Your Situation
Keep your pain in perspective.Take your mind off suffering by volunteering to help others who are suffering in different ways. For example, you could volunteer at the local homeless shelter or soup kitchen to help people who struggle to get enough to eat and pay their bills. Thinking about how other people are struggling, too, will help you feel less alone in your fight against arthritic pain.
Confront your fears.Much unhappiness stems from an inability to really identify what it is you’re worried or unhappy about. While it might be easy for you to recognize that the physical pain of arthritis makes you unhappy, you might have a harder time understanding or recognizing the deeper fears arthritis inspires.
- For instance, you might fear that people won’t respect you, or people will think you are weak just because you have arthritis. Analyze your thoughts carefully and write these fears down.
- Simply writing your fears in a diary or journal can lead to a more positive tomorrow.
- Talk to a trusted friend or therapist about your fears, so that they can help give you objective perspective.
Don’t try to be upbeat all the time.It is unrealistic to feel good about your situation all the time, even for people who don’t have arthritis. While you should always try to look on the bright side, don’t beat yourself up for feeling blue.Honor that you are having a bad day, and tell yourself "tomorrow will be better."
- Don't try to put on a brave face for the sake of others, or out of fear that others will think you are weak. Be honest about your feelings and fears.
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