I made a conscious choice a long time ago to not act like a victim and to deal with this illness known as fibromyalgia with positive attitude and healthy habits. But to be perfectly honest, some days it is tough to maintain the positivism when you absolutely feel like you have been hit by a mack truck. I am not going to lie and say I don’t have bouts of crying and “why me?” moments, but they are few and far between since a shift in attitude.
So how do you cultivate a positive mindset when you are dealing with chronic pain?
1 – Listen to Your Body
It’s important to listen to your body and what it’s trying to tell you. Some days you just can’t do it all, or even much at all, so give yourself permission to slow down and take a break. Try to get some extra sleep. Take a bath with epsom salts. Try massage therapy, which can help in retraining your muscles to maintain a more relaxed state and reduce some of the chronic pain.
2 – Clear Your Mind
Stress is a major factor in pain. We live in a fast paced society that is always on and always connected these days. This adds additional stress to our lives that wasn’t there a decade or so ago, and can exacerbate the fibro-flares or pain we are experiencing. Try to take time each day to practice breathing exercises, meditation, or do some yoga to clear your mind. A friend of mine told me she does this in the shower each day, imaging all of the stress, problems, and negativity to flow out of her fingertips with the running water.
3 – Express Gratitude
Sometimes it is hard to find things to be thankful for when you are dealing with pain and limitations in your life. But the sheer act of writing down those thoughts and committing them to paper helps to reinforce a positive attitude. I try to start each day with writing down three things I am grateful for, but sometimes it happens at the end of the day. And some days I play catch up for a couple of days. But that’s OK too, because I have given myself permission to not be perfect!
Pain is a Powerful Teacher
You have the power to decide whether to let the pain control you, or you to control the pain and its effect on you. Concentrating on the pain just allows it to grow and take over all aspects of your life. Developing a positive outlook and response to your pain, will reduce some of the negative effects in your life.
I am not saying that shifting your mindset will alleviate all pain in your body. I am saying that changing your outlook on life and learning better coping mechanisms can improve your response to the pain and perhaps lessen the effects. A positive mindset is just one of the tools in my arsenal that allow me to deal with fibromyalgia and chronic pain in a healthy and holistic way. I choose to use diet, exercise, and mindset to cope with my fibromyalgia. I have fibromyalgia, but it does not and will not have me.
Do you have other strategies you use for maintaining a positive outlook in the face of chronic pain?