ProHealth health Vitamin and Natural Supplement Store and Health
Home  |  Log In  |  My Account  |  View Cart  View Your ProHealth Vitamin and Supplement Shopping Cart
800-366-6056  |  Contact Us  |  Help
Facebook Google Plus
Fibromyalgia  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & M.E.  Lyme Disease  Natural Wellness  Supplement News  Forums  Our Story
Store     Brands   |   A-Z Index   |   Best Sellers   |   New Products   |   Deals & Specials   |   Under $10   |   SmartSavings Club

Trending News

Friendly User's Guide for the Timing of Nutritional Supplements

The Health Benefits of Manuka Honey

Increase Your Magnesium Intake

Vitamin D supplementation could ease IBS symptoms

Top Tips to Boost Your Immunity

11 Amazing Health Benefits of Using Baking Soda

Nicotinamide riboside shows promise for treatment of Alzheimer’s disease

Exercise, calcium, vitamin D, and other factors linked with fewer injurious falls

Vitamin D3 Is a Powerhouse for Your Heart

Mediterranean diet associated with lower risk of aggressive prostate cancer

Print Page
Email Article

The 1% Solution: Small Steps That Can Improve Your Life with Fibromyalgia

  [ 22 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ]
By Bruce Campbell, PhD • • November 19, 2013

The 1% Solution: Small Steps That Can Improve Your Life with Fibromyalgia

This article is reproduced with the kind permission of Bruce Campbell, PhD and

A woman with CFS told me recently that when she feels discouraged, she motivates herself by aiming for a 1% improvement in some part of her life. I think she has found a secret to getting better if you have CFS or FM: think small.

Very few people hit home runs with these conditions. The chances are low of finding something to quickly restore your old life. Most experts agree: the most powerful treatment for both conditions is lifestyle change, which means changing our habits and how we live our daily lives.

This is a gradual process, but over time can be transforming. Hitting a lot of singles doesn't grab the headlines, but in the game of living with CFS or FM, it's a winning strategy.

Here are seven examples.

Take Planned Rests

Setting aside time every day for rest breaks can help reduce symptoms, increase stability and, ironically, reduce total rest time. Many people make it their first change when they start our program. Here's what two people said their use of planned rests:

I decided to incorporate two scheduled rests into my day and the results have been incredible. My symptoms and pain have decreased and I feel more ‘in control'. My sleep has been more refreshing and even my mood has improved.
I have been resting in between activities, sometimes only for five minutes. For the first time in the four and a half years that I have been ill, I feel that it is possible to manage my symptoms and have some predictability in my life.  

If you would like to try planned rest, set aside one or more times a day and find a quiet place where you can lie down with your eyes closed. (For more, see the article Reducing Symptoms with Planned Rest.)

Get Support from Fellow Patients

Serious illness is isolating and discouraging. Being in contact with fellow patients counteracts isolation and can offer inspiration, encouragement and practical coping strategies. Here's what two people in one of our recent classes said about their experience.

It is so wonderful to find a community of people who really understand what I'm going through. I am so encouraged by hearing about the different and creative ways everyone has found to cope with their illness.
It is so affirming to hear how others have struggled and the strategies they have developed to cope. It gives me great hope.

If you're feeling isolated and would like more support, one place to start is by joining one of our self-help groups. Another alternative is to link up with an in-person or online support group. (For ideas on how to do the latter, see the article Finding Support Groups and Doctors.)

Identify What Helps & What Hurts

CFS and FM symptom levels depend in part on how people lead their lives. For example, if you are more active than your body can tolerate, your symptoms will increase. If you remain within your limits, you can gain some control.

Through self-observation, you can discover what intensifies your symptoms and what helps you to feel better. Then, over time, you can adjust your life so you do less of the things that make you worse and more of those things that help.

A starting point is to spend a few minutes making two lists, one of things that make your symptoms worse and the other of things that give you a sense of control. (For sample lists, see the section on self-observation in chapter 4 of The Patient's Guide to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia.)

Ask: What Can I Do Today?

Change starts with a single step. Ask yourself: What is one small thing I can do today for my health? The idea is to focus on a goal that is both specific and realistic, maximizing your chances for success. For example, if you want to improve your sleep, you could make an appointment to discuss sleep medications with your doctor.

If you feel isolated, you could call or email a friend. If overdoing is a problem, limit your time on the computer today. If you feel disorganized, spend 15 minutes cleaning up your desk. The aim is not to solve all your problems in one day, but rather to take a step that counteracts helplessness and creates some forward momentum.

Do a "Should" Review

Do you feel guilty about all the things you think you should do but aren't doing? It's a common problem for people with CFS and FM. Illness limits what we can do, but often we are slow to adjust our expectations to fit our reduced abilities. One solution: do a reality check on your expectations.

Write down what your inner voice says you should be doing. For example: "I should work to support my family" or "I should fix a big dinner every night."

Then evaluate your thoughts, asking to what extent the thoughts are valid. Then, based on your judgment of the extent to which the expectation is realistic, adjust or replace your thought. For example, you might tell yourself "I can contribute to my family in other ways besides work" or "I will make sure my family eats well, even if I don't prepare the food myself."

Start a Health Log

Written records are a powerful tool for discovering what makes illness worse and what helps you feel better. With a few minutes a day of writing, plus some time spent periodically reviewing the records, you can see patterns and discover the many different factors that contribute to symptoms. To get started, spend a few minutes familiarizing yourself with the sample logs in the chapter on records in our course textbook or in an article on logging.

Identify Your Relapse Triggers

Relapses are a common and often demoralizing part of CFS and FM, but it's possible to reduce their frequency and severity. One place to start is by identifying those things that trigger setbacks.

These factors could be actions you take or events that happen to you. Then you can work at reducing the frequency and severity of setbacks. You'll find a list of common triggers and other ideas about minimizing flares in the article Controlling Relapses.

In Conclusion

Living with CFS and/or fibromyalgia can feel overwhelming. An effective response is to take a series of small, realistic steps that improve your quality of life: the 1% solution. 


About the Author:  Dr. Bruce Campbell directs the educational CFIDS and Fibromyalgia Self-Help website (, and online self-help group discussion courses focused on practical ways to deal with the daily challenges of chronic illness.

Image courtesy of graur codrin /

Post a Comment

Featured Products From the ProHealth Store
Energy NADH™ 12.5mg Optimized Curcumin Longvida® Mitochondria Ignite™ with NT Factor®

Article Comments

Be the first to comment on this article!

Post a Comment

Optimized Curcumin Longvida with Omega-3

Featured Products

Optimized Curcumin Longvida® Optimized Curcumin Longvida®
Supports Cognition, Memory & Overall Health
Ultra ATP+, Double Strength Ultra ATP+, Double Strength
Get Energized with Malic Acid & Magnesium
Vitamin D3 Extreme™ Vitamin D3 Extreme™
50,000 IU Vitamin D3 - Prescription Strength
FibroSleep™ FibroSleep™
The All-in-One Natural Sleep Aid
Energy NADH™ 12.5mg Energy NADH™ 12.5mg
Improve Energy & Cognitive Function

Natural Remedies

Breaking Through the Mental Fog Breaking Through the Mental Fog
The Cellular Enzyme That Promotes Longevity And Reduces Fat Storage The Cellular Enzyme That Promotes Longevity And Reduces Fat Storage
Help for Soreness and Swelling: What Do Silkworms Have to Do With It? Help for Soreness and Swelling: What Do Silkworms Have to Do With It?
Restoring Gut Health: How to Create a Firewall Against Toxins Entering the Gut Wall Restoring Gut Health: How to Create a Firewall Against Toxins Entering the Gut Wall
The Crucial Role CoQ10 Plays in Fibromyalgia and ME/CFS The Crucial Role CoQ10 Plays in Fibromyalgia and ME/CFS

ProHealth, Inc.
555 Maple Ave
Carpinteria, CA 93013
(800) 366-6056  |  Email

· Become a Wholesaler
· Vendor Inquiries
· Affiliate Program
Credit Card Processing
Get the latest news about Fibromyalgia, M.E/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Lyme Disease and Natural Wellness

CONNECT WITH US ProHealth on Facebook  ProHealth on Twitter  ProHealth on Pinterest  ProHealth on Google Plus

© 2018 ProHealth, Inc. All rights reserved. Pain Tracker App  |  Store  |  Customer Service  |  Guarantee  |  Privacy  |  Contact Us  |  Library  |  RSS  |  Site Map