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www.ProHealth.com • May 20, 2003


All families experience stress when faced with new or challenging events. For most families, the problems that come with arthritis are stressful. Besides many of the small changes that must be made, there are also medical bills to pay. Because of the up-and-down nature of arthritis, there is also uncertainty and fear of the future. To manage these situations in a positive way, it helps to talk regularly--before tensions and fears build up. If you address issues as they come up, they are less likely to become bigger problems that are harder to solve. Here are some guidelines for talking out problems:

Talk with--rather than to--a person. This means listening and trying to understand what the person is saying, and not telling a person what to do. Talking is a two-way street. Most people respond better when they feel they have gotten their points across. They also respond better when they are asked rather than told to do something.

Use "I" instead of "you" statements. This means saying "I feel..." rather than "You make me feel...." Expressing yourself in this way means you are taking responsibility for your thoughts and feelings. You are not blaming them on others.

Be an active listener. Try to understand what a person is thinking and feeling, as well as what he or she is saying.

(Source: University of Washington Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine)



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