While living with arthritis can create stresses most people might not even think about, a technique called expressive writing may bring relief, both mentally and physically. For example, maybe you’re angry because pain is keeping you from joining friends on a shopping trip or playing with your kids – again. You may be stuck in anger.
“But in addition to anger, you probably also feel grief, loss and a lack of control over the circumstances,” says clinical psychologist Mark Lumley, PhD, psychology professor at Wayne State University in Detroit. “Expressive writing can help bring forward those less-accessible feelings besides anger that don’t always have a voice.
Writing this way reduces inner conflict and provides you a better sense of emotional balance – and perhaps even less pain – when you express those feelings on paper.”
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We asked our readers and followers “What’s your favorite 5-minute tip for de-stressing/relaxation?” Here are their answers.
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The pressure of coping with arthritis can really ratchet up your stress and anxiety – a condition that affects as many as 1 in 3 people with arthritis. And that, in turn, can worsen the symptoms of chronic diseases and contribute to a host of other problems.
“When we are stressed or perceive a threat, our body responds with physiologic responses that prepare us to fight or escape the enemy,” says Rudy Nydegger, PhD, a clinical psychologist and professor emeritus at Union Graduate College in Schenectady, N.Y. “Our heart rate and breathing speed up, our muscles tense and blood flow to the brain increases, putting us in a state of high awareness.”
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If joint pain is keeping you up in the wee hours of the morning, tell your doctor so that she can determine if your arthritis meds are properly managing your symptoms. While your doctor may prescribe stronger pain meds, such as opioids, for short-term use, they come with many downsides and can leave you feeling sleepy the next day. For some people with chronic pain, low-dose antidepressants can help them sleep better by interrupting the pain cycle. You may have to try several medications before you find one that works for you.
Continue reading Arthritis Pain Causing Insomnia? Here’s What You Can Do