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.