Posts tagged ‘Auntie Stress Cafe’

January 19, 2017

#515 – Lose Yourself (in an Activity)

I’ve found that getting immersed in something other than my disease is a good way to forget, if only for a while, that I haveonceuponpiecepaper a chronic illness. When you focus on the pain, it tends to reinforce that pain.

Researchers at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf used an fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) and discovered that mental distractions helped to inhibit the response to incoming pain signals. It was found that endogenous (naturally-produced) opoids reduced the amount of pain signals travelling to the higher-order brain regions. Study participants were given memory tests at the same time as heat was applied to their arms. As the participants devoted more attention to the problems they were given, the fMRI detected less activity in the spinal cord, which equated to the perception of less pain.

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) helps people develop alternate ways of thinking and behaving in order to reduce their psychological stress. The pain study shows how CBT can play a role in pain management, as well.

There are a number of ways in which you can distract yourself:

  • Learn a language.
  • Take a course.
  • Join a singing group.
  • Learn a new skill.
  • Lose yourself in an art activity.

One word of advice: Get good at listening to your body. Know when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em. If you take an outside course, you may wish to let the instructor know that you may have restrictions and/or that you may need more time to complete the activity/lesson.

To get you started, I have an activity that you can do on your own terms. Please see my giveaway on Auntie Stress Café for Once Upon a Piece of Paper – a collage kit that shows you how to play with paper (again). All you need are scissors, glue and your imagination to transport you into the world of creativity (and less pain). The kit comes complete with starter ideas and a packet of 100 printed pages ready for you to use. If you already use coloring books to help you be more mindful (and playful), Once Upon a Piece of Paper is billed as the next step up.

The giveaway, which is open to anyone, anywhere, closes at PT, on Friday, January 20th, 2017. Visit Giveaway: Creativity with Once Upon a Piece of Paper to find out how you can enter.

Related posts:

January 11, 2014

#497.5 – Linking You to a Rheumful of Improvements

Image courtesy of Harshavardhan Para.

Image courtesy of Harshavardhan Para.

Yes, this blog is about how I move through life with rheumatoid arthritis. However, it’s more than that – it’s a blog about health and wellness.

Not convinced? I urge you to read A Rheumful of Improvements over on Auntie Stress Café. If you’re struggling with your New Year’s resolutions, it may be just the thing to remind you that each moment gives you a chance to start afresh.

March 20, 2013

#433 – New Feet and a Fused Neck

Last year, someone emailed me to ask about my fore-foot reconstructive surgeries.

I was looking forward to my new feet, but little did I know that the surgeon would refuse to do the second foot, until after I had two of my cervical vertebrae fused.

You can read about it here.

Warning! If you are squeamish, please do not scroll down to the end in that post. It’s a picture of my foot post-surgery, complete with pins sticking out of the end of my toes.

It seems that my body wanted to expel those pins. Some of them came out over the course of the three-month recovery period. I have one toe that did not fuse well, so if you are having this surgery, I’d advise asking your surgeon how best to prevent that from happening.

On How Not To Be Bored During Your Recuperation, I said that I learned how to draw. Since I couldn’t find any pictures of my before feet, I’m including a copy of a sketch I included in the thank you card I sent to my surgeon. It is an approximate illustration my before and after foot.

feet 001

March 17, 2013

#430 – Exercising Your Approach

Recently, I’ve added a new component to my exercise routine, regardless of whether I’m out on my dog walk, swimming lengths at the pool, or breaking up my work day with a dance around the living room. It’s all about attitude – strengthening that heartmindbody (since it’s all connected, I consider this to be one word) approach I like so much.

I’m not unfamiliar with physical pain, nor is anyone who has rheumatoid arthritis. Flare-ups, hip dislocations, and that seemingly interminable wait for hip replacements, all spell p.a.i.n. I’m not proud to say this, but at one point, it was so bad that if someone had offered me a gun, I would have considered using it.

These days I’m feeling pretty darn good. So, just before I begin to exercise, I celebrate it—my joints, my muscles, me—for being able-bodied enough to do those things I can still do. If you’re a gardener, you know the benefit of prepping the soil, prior to planting. This celebratory exercise is the equivalent; it sets the scene for a better outcome. I find I step livelier, swim faster and dance with more joy.

If you find yourself dreading your exercise routine, think about the fact that you are still able to do what you’re doing, then celebrate it! Celebration is also a wonderful stress undresser. Remember, it doesn’t have to be a celebration of epic proportions, although who wouldn’t want to mark it with a trip to Bali, or even to the Watsu Pool in Hawaii! 😉

Are you wondering how to celebrate? Pat yourself on the back. Thank yourself. Sing a song. Do a little dance. Light a candle – be sure to blow it out before you leave the house, of course!

How else can you celebrate you and your mobility?

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