Emotions present another area of challenge in people with fibromyalgia. Living with pain and fatigue every day can cause intense emotions. You may cry more frequently, get upset more easily or have more angry outbursts than before. Fibromyalgia or any chronic illness tends to make emotional reactions stronger and harder to control. It is perfectly normal. After all, fibromyalgia impacts so many aspects of your life.
Living with fibromyalgia can trigger a lot of negative emotions about yourself, your life and even your relationships with the people around you. Negative emotions can increase symptoms like pain, muscle tension, headaches, fatigue, sleep problems and digestive problems.
Negative emotions such as fear, anxiety, frustration, and depression cause chemical reactions in your body. Chronic stress from negative emotions can upset the body’s hormone balance, deplete the brain chemicals required for feelings of happiness, as well as have a damaging impact on the immune system.
Positive emotions like joy, contentment, and love, help undo the physical stress of negative feelings. The more positive you are, the less severe your symptoms will be.
How can we maintain positive thoughts when our bodies feel so lousy? It is not always easy to change the way you think, but it can be done.
Here are some strategies to change your thinking:
- Take Care Of Yourself – Make time to eat properly, relax and exercise. Use relaxation exercises or treat yourself to relaxing activities such as listening to music or reading. Remember, you will need to adapt your self-care activities to your current abilities and limitations. Caring for yourself will enable you to deal with stressful aspects of your illness.
- Keep Things In Perspective – Our perspectives are shaped by the comparisons we make and the expectations they create. Don’t compare yourself to other people or how things used to be. Determine who and what adds meaning to your life and invest in those relationships and activities.
- Consciously Replace Your Thoughts – Whenever you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts, make a conscious effort to replace it with a positive one. Make it a habit that every time you think something negative about yourself, another person, or situation you HAVE to replace that thought with one or two positive ones. With practice, it will become a habit .
- Keep a Journal – By writing about your feelings, you can vent out your pent-up feelings of anger, resentment and frustration. A journal can also help you keep track of your symptoms and the emotional triggers that led to them.
- Eliminate Toxic Relationships – People who blame you for their problems, criticize your choices and discount your feelings are toxic. Living with fibromyalgia is difficult enough, we don’t need people in our lives challenging how we feel and minimizing our pain.
- Connect With Others – It is easy for people with fibro to isolate themselves. Unfortunately, isolation can lead to feelings of loneliness and depression. The truth is, no one really understands what you are going through unless they are going through the same thing. Find a fibromyalgia support group near you or online.
- Get Some Rest – Taking a break and resting is an effective way of dealing with the physical symptoms of fibro. It is also a good way of curbing the emotions that can trigger a flare-up.
- Seek Help If You Need It – If you are having a hard time controlling your emotions or think you may be depressed, talk with your doctor.
Being chronically ill is an extremely difficult thing to deal with and can easily lead to depression. This article: Positive Aspects of Fibromyalgia reflects on some of the benefits and positive aspects of chronic illness.
It’s important to allow yourself to accept the feelings and emotions you may be experiencing and acknowledge you have a good reason to feel this way. The goal in conquering your difficult emotions isn’t to deny them. Rather than suppressing these feelings, try to work through them so that they don’t take over your life.
If your emotions are getting the best of you, I recommend reading Living Beyond Your Feelings, by Joyce Meyer. This book is helpful for anyone who struggles with controlling emotions. If you Like the authors Facebook page you can read the first chapter for free.