When arthritis pain strikes, it may be tempting to withdraw and crawl back into bed. But giving in to this feeling may worsen the pain, says Marni Amsellem, PhD, a Connecticut and New York-based clinical health psychologist. Instead, having a list of mood boosters is a better way to cope with arthritis pain, she says. A fun activity can take your mind off the pain and brighten your outlook.
Here’s some suggestions to help get you started:
Look at Old Photos
Looking at old photos can spark happy memories and brighten your day. Favorite digital photos of your family, friends, past vacations or pets on your phone and scroll through them later for when you need a pick-me-up.
Get Some Fresh Air
Spending time in nature can ease stress and help you relax. Plan a hike, drive up to a nearby waterfall or spend the day at a state park. If you’re short on time, just sitting a few minutes in your backyard or taking a stroll around the block during your lunch hour can help tremendously, too.
Work on a Hobby
Whether it’s painting, or some other pastime, take time to do something you enjoy, and think of ways to modify it during a flare. “If you can’t jog, try walking,” suggests Amsellem.
Jot in a Journal
Put your emotions on paper, and list what you’re thankful for. Feeling gratitude has been shown to reduce depression in people with arthritis.
Read a Favorite Book
Load your favorites on a lightweight e- reader, which is easier to hold than a book. Or go to a bookstore and spend the day perusing new titles.
Watch a Funny Show
Laughter triggers feel-good endorphins, which may help you handle pain.
Buy yourself flowers, get a massage, take a bath or watch a movie and order takeout from your favorite restaurant. Giving yourself a little daily TLC can work wonders in the long run.
Author: Sharon Liao
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