I am definitely not an expert on meditation, but even I, with no training, am able to gain relief from my amateur form of meditating. I do this when I am in a lot of pain and nothing else has worked. I go to my bedroom and close the door, so that it is perfectly quiet. I don't know about you, but when I get up to a level 8 or 9 pain level, I feel better if I can get away from the "noise" of life. I lay on my bed and consciously clear my mind of all thoughts. When I reach that point, I consciously think of things that are soothing to me. I visualize the sun setting on the ocean, and the waves gently lapping at the sand on the beach. I can even hear the sound of the water rushing in and out. This conscious direction of my thoughts toward pleasant experiences drains the stress from my body and eases my pain.
Share Your Journey With People Who Understand
Apparently, there are not a lot of support groups for people with RA in most sections of the US. Thankfully, there are sites like the one sponsored by Health Central, that give us the opportunity to share our stories, trials and triumphs. We know that we are not alone. That is a huge comfort to most people with a chronic, painful illness. Some of us may tend toward social isolation when we are in pain. Being part of a support group seems to lessen this danger.
Consider Adopting A Pet
Pets seem to bring out the best in people. They love us and are there for us regardless of how we look for feel each day. Taking care of pets nudges us out into the world. It keeps us going, even if we just want to lay on the couch. After all, a puppy or dog needs to go outside from time to time. A kitty needs brushed and fed and watered. Meeting the needs of our pets is a distraction from our pain. The best thing of all is that pets give love unconditionally. They also seem to sense when we do not feel well. I have kitties that just cuddle up next to me and purr when I am having a tough day. That is such a comforting thing.
Do Something For Someone Else
I made a New Years Resolution this past January. My goal is to do something kind or buy a small gift for someone every day. Being kind every day should be a given, but we all get busy and are rushing around in our modern world. I just try to take the time to say a kind word to a store clerk, a person I see in a convenience store, a coworker, or any stranger I may meet who looks as though they may need a boost. I find this tool for fighting stress especially rewarding and effective.
My orthopedic doctor's NP told me that our bodies cannot tell the difference between physical and emotional stress. It reacts the exact same way to both. Anything we can do to keep stress from adversely impacting our health is worth a try.
Do you find that stress increases your pain? What do you do to combat stress in your life?