How to cope with Fibromyalgia and stress

I’ve been a bit stressed lately. Probably evident by my lack of posts and, if you’ve seen me recently, the stiff smile forced across my face whilst my tired eyes try to look relaxed – rather than crazed.

What to do? Well, I’m going to try and follow some of my own advice – as written about this week for New Life Outlook. Plus, as an extra bonus, counselor Eric Patterson has joined me in this piece and also shares his top tips for combatting stress. Here’s a little extract, but you can hop on over to New Life Outlook for the full article. (Link below).

Image: Free People
Image: Free People

“Often when fibromyalgia patients are told about the need to control stress levels, we get annoyed. It implies that if stress affects our pain then our pain isn’t ‘real’; it implies the pain is more psychological than it is physical and that can be frustrating.

However, stress has a direct impact on our pain levels so it’s essential that we try and keep our lives as stress-free as possible. Many people internalize their stress which means that the more stressed we become, the more pressure we put on our insides.

So how can we ease the stress in our lives?

1. Identify the Stresses

You can’t reduce the stresses until you identify them. Make a list of all the things that cause you some kind of stress, and prepare yourself because it’s going to be long!

Once you have your list, cross through everything that you have no control over. This is important because although you can’t control everything, you can probably change more than you think.

2. Implement Change

It’s one thing to identify the stress, but another to make practical changes. Of all the things you have control over, write down something you can do next to each one to make it easier.

For example, my journey to work is stressful because of rush hour. so I have changed my working hours to travel outside of at later times to reduce my stress. What could you change?

3. Help Yourself

I can’t be the only one who makes life harder for myself. We all do that, right? Right?! For example, being late makes me stressed, but I am also a person who doesn’t check my travel plans before I leave the house. Therefore traffic jams or train cancellations make me incredibly stressed, and yet I could have made my life much easier by checking travel in advance.

You can check out all the other tips here. 


6 comments on “How to cope with Fibromyalgia and stress

  1. Catherine

    Another thing worth noting is when you are stressed try to note what you are doing with your body at that moment. For example I hunch my shoulders when I’m stressed, some people clench their fists or their teeth. If you can identify what you do, you can also tell yourself to relax that particular part of your body particularly if you can anticipate those stressful situations. I does help.

  2. Fabulous post, Sarah! It can be very challenging to cut out daily stressors whether they be work – related or maybe the neighbour comes to pound on your door to complain about your dogs, again. 😉 I actually had to stop working two years ago because the stress had a very direct effect on my fibromyalgia pain. I literally felt as if I was having a heart attack because the muscles in my chest/rib cage would contract whenever I was exposed to a stressful situation. I still experience stress but it’s more manageable and my therapist has provided ideas to help me to deal with the stressors. I think anybody could benefit from reducing stress in her life regardless of whether or not she had a chronic health condition.

  3. Pingback: Mindfulness: June |

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