The Month Ahead: Stress Reduction, Hope and Support for RA

  • Happy April 1st! Not only is this the first month of non-winter — very important to those of us who live in the northern part of the continent — but it's also the traditional day for pulling good-natured pranks. I like to think of April Fools' Day as a reminder that a brighter, sunnier time of year is starting, a sort of calendrical reminder to lighten up.


    Not surprisingly, April is National Humor Month. Brad, our resident court jester, will celebrate this by writing about humor and its role in coping with RA. Humor is very connected to the concept of hope and not just because they both start with the letter H! Hope is about believing there will be better times, about connecting to a sense of lightness, a trust that things will work out for the best. Making the shift to the perspective of hope can help you make better healthcare decisions. Later this month, V will write about how emotions can have a practical and beneficial impact on your health.

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    One emotion that's been proven to have a direct impact on your health is stress. This month on HealthCentral, writers from all our sites will tackle the topic of stress reduction from a number of perspectives. RA and many other chronic illnesses are significantly affected by stress and many of us try to reduce the stress in our lives to prevent flares of health conditions. Later this week, I'll write more about stress, stress reduction, and RA.


    April is also IBS Awareness Month. IBS is very connected to RA — years of taking RA meds can contribute to developing IBS. IBS is also commonly affected by stress, thus closing the circle. Leslie will explore these connections and what you can do to get better. Gastroparesis is another condition that affects the gastrointestinal system. Carrie Beth had planned to tell us more about gastroparesis in March, but got sick with a flare of the condition. Her post has therefore been rescheduled to this month. Please join me in sending her good wishes for getting back on top of her health.


    Getting back on top of our health is ultimately something we all work to do every day. Recently, there has been significant discussion in the RA online community about conventional versus alternative medicine, as well as the use of diet in controlling RA symptoms. Later this month, I'll take a look at how to achieve a balance that is best for your health. This quest for balance isn't just limited to our own health, but the planet’s health, as well. In her second April post, Lisa will write about Earth Day.


    When we're not feeling well and are trying to cope, we can reach out to a variety of things in our lives that can help us get through. Many of us rely on our family for support and in her second post this month, Leslie will write about siblings. Others lean on the written word for inspiration, escape and support. For Library Week, Lisa will write about how resources about healthy living and pretty much everything else are as close as your local library. April is also in National Poetry Month and V is going to try her hand at writing poetry about RA. We hope you get inspired and write some of your own. If you do, please share it with us in a SharePost!


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    We look forward to chatting with you about these and many other topics throughout the month of April, both here on RAHealthCentral and on our Facebook page.


    Let's kick off the conversation right now — what's the best April Fool’s joke you’ve ever heard of?



Published On: April 01, 2013