By: Jackie Waters
Sometimes life hands us difficult challenges. There is no preparation for the most difficult of them; we can only accept and maintain strength and courage to face the obstacles and overcome. Receiving a diagnosis that entails chronic pain is one of these challenges.
A thousand thoughts cross the mind, one of which is usually: Why me? Of course, there is no clear answer to this, and harping on the question is not the most productive approach. Instead, the focus should be on shifting your perspective and your environment so that you can more aptly combat the circumstance.
Overcoming the Chronic Pain Diagnosis
A diagnosis can change your life and the initial blow comes with a myriad of mixed emotions. It’s very easy to allow fear and anxiety to overpower the nerves, to allow your imagination to go haywire with the worst of scenarios, but it is important to remain calm, clear headed.
- Take a deep breath. If there is one thing you can control, it is your breathing and deep breathing not only relaxes your muscles, but it helps the mind slow down and assimilate its racing thoughts.
- Be aware that your feelings will improve. In other words, the immediate moment of the chronic pain diagnosis will feel like a hundred pounds over your shoulders, but this will subside with time. The more patience you practice, the more clarity will fall over you as things continue.
- Choose your friends wisely. The support of friends and family is imperative to fortifying your spirit in difficult time. This does not mean you have to go out and tell everybody; instead choose which friends or family member might be the most helpful.
Don’t Let Fear Snowball
During the first few days after the diagnosis, it is important to not let your fears run wild and to remain calm and collected.
- Google with Caution: While the internet has a vast amount of useful information, it is often inaccurate. Obsessively searching your condition without awareness of source can lead you to drive yourself to a panic.
- Learn important facts: Being informed is important, but don’t overwhelm yourself with information. Take in what you can in small increments, ask questions, and slow down.
- Reign in your Imagination: You may find yourself going over the worst of scenarios and possibilities. This increases stress unnecessarily.
Make Lifestyle Changes
Part of achieving a new perspective may begin with action. This can take the form of behavioral changes, dietary, recreational and so on.
- Choose a healthy diet: We are what we eat is not a saying, but it is quite true. Taking care of your body through diet is not only something you can control, but an incredible step to take towards better health. Beginning a new diet regimen can take some time, but you can start with a few simple changes such as: cooking big batches of grains to have for the week, substituting good ingredients in your food, observing meatless mondays, and cutting out processed sugar completely.
- Create a peaceful home environment: Creating a welcoming and comforting space at home can do wonders for handling stress or moments of anxiety. You can do this by decluttering your home and organizing belongings to reduce feelings of stuffy and cramped spaces. Decluttering can help remove physical hazards and obstructions, but it can also provide a sense of freedom by removing unnecessary stuff. Take some time to declutter your cabinets and closets. When things feel more organized you can have a sense of calm and give yourself room to think and reflect.
- Practice meditation and mindfulness. Decluttering your house can also help in setting a space in your home where you can sit and meditate for awhile. The Huffington Post provides a few quick tips to help you find your way back to balance.
Remember that life has its twists and turns and in the end things will improve. Acceptance takes courage as does shifting your life around, but life is precious and we can often surprise ourselves with what we can do with a positive attitude and resilient spirit. Do what you can to stay positive, use your friends as support, and breathe in deeply.
ABOUT JACKIE: Jackie Waters is the founder of Hyper Tidy and is a mother of four beautiful and energetic boys. She lives in Oregon. She was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in her 20’s and began making a number of lifestyle changes to minimize the number of medications she need to take.
Photo Credit: Pixabay