Finding pleasure in living with arthritis

The perpetual circle that exists between diet, exercise, and emotions in dealing with arthritis means that you must make a conscious effort to stay happy and healthy. By making choices that affect your well-being, you’ll maintain more control over the way you feel each day. Even if you’re in pain, you’ll know that you have things to look forward to if you plan out your activities in advance. Here are some ways to find emotional balance in managing your arthritis.

Find Support
Whether you’re going to see a counselor, speaking to someone at your church, or turning to a trusted friend or relative, it’s important to have a listening ear to express your frustrations and concerns to. Keeping things bottled up has a physical impact. You involuntarily tense your muscles, which leads to more stiffness and pain. When you have an emotional outlet, you can unload your emotional burdens and move on with the knowledge that someone understands.

Find a Fun Way to Move
One reason people have a hard time with exercise is that they dread it. If you have fun and get a workout at the same time, the physical effects are secondary to the enjoyment you get out of it. If you enjoy dancing, enroll in a class. Like to bicycle? Make it a point to get out on the weekends (or let your imagination roam while you do it at home). Tai chi, yoga and pilates are other gentle exercises that connect and balance the mind, body and emotions.

Laugh Out Loud
Humor is one of the best ways to avoid depression. When you can find things to laugh about, it helps to put things into perspective. Since depression has been linked to arthritis, it’s particularly vital for arthritis patients to find the humor in life. Plan outings with your significant other or friends to see funny movies, stand-up comedians and humorous plays. Get together with your funniest friends as often as possible. Look at ways to turn your pain into laughter.

Oftentimes, when people are in pain they find it difficult to focus on anything but themselves. Author Cami Walker found herself in this position when she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. A friend mentioned that she might try giving gifts for 29 consecutive days to see if things changed for her. What changed most was her outlook on her own capabilities, her relationships, and her career. You can participate by starting your own 29 day gift giving challenge at Walker’s website.