5 Tips for Reducing the Anxiety of Living with Arthritis
Arthritis is a natural part of aging, affecting roughly 40% of men and women over the age of 65. Degenerating joints can cause chronic pain and make it difficult to move, affecting your ability to live an active life.
The CDC recently released a study that stated as many as 33% of those living with some form of arthritis live with anxiety, compared to 18% of the rest of the population. Chronic pain isn’t just physical – it affects people mentally.
Managing Anxiety and Arthritis
The good news is that both arthritis and anxiety are entirely manageable. But managing both does involve some lifestyle changes, a change in your overall mindset, and the motivation to want to enjoy your life. Some tips include:
- Spending Time With People That Matter
When you’re dealing with chronic pain, a strong social support system is crucial. Surrounding yourself with people that care about you – whether they’re family, old friends, or even new friends that you have a connection with – the more time you spend with people that you really connect with, the easier it is to deal with pain. No matter how much you hurt, get yourself out there with the people that care about you whose company you enjoy, and the pain and anxiety will get much easier.
One of the biggest issues with arthritis and anxiety – and possibly one of the primary reasons that those with arthritis have such a serious anxiety risk – is because it becomes hard to be active and exercise when you have that type of chronic pain. The problem is that inactivity itself causes anxiety, so when you allow arthritis to turn you inactive, you’re putting yourself at risk for anxiety and stress.
So it’s very important that you find a way to exercise, however you can. Even if it’s smaller movements or non-traditional exercises, or exercises that cause a bit of pain but are otherwise manageable, the more physically active you are the less anxiety you’ll experience.
- Talk Therapy
There is no shame and no harm in utilizing talk therapy as a way of dealing with both anxiety and chronic pain. The truth is that therapy is safe, it’s natural, and it’s effective. There are several cognitive behavioral therapy tactics that are valuable for those with anxiety and those with arthritis pain, and while therapy may have negative connotations, it is unquestionably effective.
- Adapt Your Environment to Live With Arthritis
There’s no denying that arthritis does disrupt the way you live your life. Pain does change things, whether it’s reaching for something on the top shelf, walking up stairs, or other life tasks. The difference this makes in your life can be a bit overwhelming, and contribute to the anxiety that you experience during your daily life. Adapt your life to this environment and the stress will be less overwhelming.
- Care for Your Arthritis Health
Arthritis may be degenerative, but there are ways to prevent all forms of arthritis from getting worse. Giving up contributes to stress and anxiety, while taking action to reduce the effects these conditions have on your life will help give you more hope for a better, less pain filled future. Whether it’s physical therapy, nutrition, exercise, or supplements, the more active you are in controlling the progression of your arthritis, the less you’ll let the pain itself bring you down.
In addition, traditional anxiety reduction strategies are always effective treatments for anxiety. Whether it is relaxation exercises, herbal supplements, or therapy, there are numerous options out there for controlling the way you let anxiety affect your life, and learning to live with chronic pain. Like arthritis, anxiety is manageable. You simply have to embrace the changes that your life needs to control these issues.
About the Author: Ryan Rivera has seen the way arthritis and chronic pain affect the lives of men and women of all ages. He writes anxiety reduction strategies and tips at www.calmclinic.com.