Managing Difficult Emotions

Stress is common for people with rheumatic diseases. Unfortunately, it is not well recognized by rheumatologists up to half of the time. This is important because we know that anxiety and stress, even at low levels, can have huge impacts on quality of life. It is natural to feel negative emotions when your body is not feeling well.

There are many sources of stress. Some of these include balancing activities and rest, medications, interacting with family members, relationships with doctors, physical impairments, changes in physical appearance, and managing flares. In some instances, stress can lead to the development of a rheumatic disease. Stress can also affect how active the disease may be.

Tools like mindfulness can help you cope during times of increased stress. With time, this can lead to improvements in your quality of life. We invite you to try the mindfulness meditations listed below when you are feeling particularly stressed. The more you practice mindfulness, even when you are feeling well, the easier it is to use this tool when you are having a bad day. Staying in the present moment can be difficult as it is completely natural for one’s mind to wander. However, I encourage you to explore the thoughts, emotions, and sensations that may arise, as they are, and acknowledge them without judgement.

Difficult Emotions Meditation #1

Difficult Emotions Meditation #2

Difficult Emotions Meditation #3

Difficult Emotions Meditation #4

Share Your Feedback

Thank you for your interest in the Johns Hopkins Division of Rheumatology’s Mindfulness Program for People Living with Rheumatic Disease. We welcome feedback regarding our exercises. Your response to this questionnaire will remain anonymous and no personal identifiers will be recorded. Completion of this questionnaire is purely voluntary and by taking this survey, your consent to this research study is assumed. Please complete this survey if you are at least 18 years of age and have a rheumatic disease. You may complete this survey for each meditation you have practiced. The information gathered from your responses will help to improve this resource and gain information for research purposes.

Research Study Name: Mindfulness for People Living with Rheumatic Diseases
Study ID: IRB00289772
Principle Investigator: Clifton O. Bingham III, MD
For more information, contact Michelle Jones: 410-550-9674 or