Mind Tricks to Beat Arthritis Stress and Tiredness

Rheumatoid arthritis is such a challenging illness to deal with, causing stress and fatigue on a daily basis. However, don’t lose hope. Researchers have found that “mindfulness” exercises can actually help you combat the stress and fatigue linked to painful rheumatoid joint disease. So, let’s dive into the details of how putting your mind to work in the right way can support you in managing your arthritis symptoms more effectively.

The Power of Mindfulness

The idea behind mindfulness exercises is to focus on experiencing the present moment, regardless of how difficult or painful it might be. Research from Norway has shown that such techniques can improve overall mental health and well-being in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

During this study, healthcare professionals led mindfulness sessions that addressed specific topics such as recognizing personal limitations and accepting strong emotions like anger, joy, and sorrow. These professionals implemented the Vitality Training Program (VTP), which encourages participants to become aware of – and purposely concentrate on – their feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, including pain, without judgment or attempts to avoid them.

Creative exercises, such as guided imagery, music, and drawing, were used as part of the study. Participants also shared their experiences with others in the group, allowing for a supportive and understanding environment.

This is significant because, although the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis has improved in the past decade, it is less effective for those with more established diseases. In most cases, the disease can only be partly controlled, forcing many patients to make significant and demanding lifestyle changes.

The researchers concluded that “there is therefore a need for complementary interventions that enhance individuals’ health-promoting resources and help them adjust to their disease.”

Getting Started with Mindfulness

If you’re living with rheumatoid arthritis and are interested in incorporating mindfulness techniques into your daily routine, here are some simple ways to get started:

  1. Meditation: Find a quiet, comfortable space to sit down and focus on your breath. Try to clear your mind of any thoughts and simply observe your inhalation and exhalation. If your mind begins to wander, gently bring your focus back to your breathing. Start with a few minutes of meditation each day and gradually increase the duration over time.

  2. Body Scan: Lie down in a comfortable position and focus your attention on each part of your body, starting from the tips of your toes and working your way up to the top of your head. Take note of any sensations, tension, or discomfort that you might be feeling in each area. As you do this, try to relax the muscles and let go of any tension.

  3. Mindful Eating: Choose a meal or snack that you will eat mindfully. This means paying full attention to the textures, flavors, and sensations in your mouth, as well as the sound of your chewing. Eat slowly and savor each bite, allowing yourself to fully experience the food.

  4. Journaling: Set aside time each day to write about your thoughts and feelings, as well as any physical sensations or symptoms you’re experiencing. This practice can help cultivate self-awareness and a greater understanding of your emotions and bodily reactions.

  5. Gratitude: Start or end your day by listing three things for which you’re grateful. This can help shift your focus from the pain and discomfort of rheumatoid arthritis to the positives in your life, improving your overall outlook.

Additional Resources for Mindfulness

If you’d like to learn more about how mindfulness can help manage the stress and fatigue associated with rheumatoid arthritis, consider checking out these additional resources:

In conclusion, integrating mindfulness exercises into your daily routine can make a significant impact on your ability to cope with the challenges of rheumatoid arthritis. Remember, you’re not alone in your journey. Reach out to others who share your experiences, and give yourself permission to be present with the life you’re living, even in the face of pain.