Connection Between Stress and Arthritis

Connection Between Stress and ArthritisYou already know that living with arthritis poses daily challenges, including increased stress. However, this stress can also make your arthritis worse. Stress results in increased perception of pain, increased joint inflammation, and lower mood. That is why it is so important for people, who have arthritis, to manage their stress levels.

In what follows are tips to help you reduce your stress levels:

1. Ensure you spend quality, fun time with family and friends –

Although you may not feel like visiting with others, this is good for you as it helps you forget about the pain and challenges you may be experiencing. It is important to mention that, although you may want to join support groups or spend time with other people who also have arthritis and other medical issues, it is very important not to focus your conversations on the pain. You need to focus on things that make you happy, as this will help in reducing your stress. This is in contrast to those things that make you miserable, and increase your stress!

2. Do not rush –
This is another effective way to keep your stress levels down. Rushing and doing things last minute wastes a lot of energy, increases muscle tension, and increases your pain.

Learn to plan things well, be organized, and get things ready the night before an early-morning appointment, for example.

3. Exercise –
The importance of exercise cannot be emphasized enough. Not only does exercise ensure your joints stay mobile, it lubricates your joints with oxygen and other much-needed nutrients.

Exercise doesn’t mean that you have to become a fitness fanatic; it simply means that you should be doing some activity every day. Regular exercise reduces your stress, and improves your mood and outlook on life. Exercise also increases the natural pain killers that your body produces.

4. Meditate –

Although you may think of meditation as sitting cross-legged on the floor (which may not even be possible if you have lower joint involvement), other ways to meditate exist. Your focus is to clear your mind of all extraneous and intrusive thoughts. You can do this even while you are exercising. Concentrate on the sound of your shoes as you walk, or the sounds of nature surrounding you. The key is to keep your thoughts away from your troubles by focusing on some of the simpler things in life, and focusing on the present rather than the past or future.

5. Give yourself permission to relax –

Have you ever been sick with a migraine or a cold at the worst possible time? You may have had deadlines that you needed to meet, and now your illness is making that impossible. The problem is that the more you think about it, the more stressed you become, and the worse you feel. Until you allow yourself time to relax, your body doesn’t get better. In fact, it often takes longer!

When you have arthritis, you have to give yourself permission to relax. Your joints, body, and mind need time off, or they will retaliate if you don’t care for them.

Just like you pencil appointments and other meetings into your schedule, you also need to include time off where you can do something that you enjoy, even if that means doing nothing but watching your favorite television show one evening.

To summarize, it is important to keep your stress levels low when you have arthritis. Doing so will reduce your perception of pain and overall discomfort.