Have you ever done a bit of research to find out what’s the best diet for fibromyalgia? Or, maybe you’ve searched for pain relieving fitness programs? Or perhaps you’ve investigated solutions for fibromyalgia self-care concerns?
I’m sure you have.
We all have. You may have noticed, though, that doing a bit of research is somewhat like eating one kernel of popcorn at the movies when you’ve got a whole bucket of them in your lap. Not likely.
Is this familiar? You hop online mid-afternoon just to check out just one thing. Later, you realize your cup of tea is cold, you didn’t finish the project you began, and to top it all off, you’re surprised to find you’re squinting in the dark because the sun has set. Whoops! I call this, “awakening from an information coma.”
This phenomenon is also referred to as falling down the rabbit hole.
When I did the original research that morphed into my book, FibroWHYalgia, I started the consistent habit of jotting things down. I learned to track the new ideas I came across. I had little notebooks for on the go research at libraries, bookstores, and lectures. I had bigger spiral bound notebooks for at home use. One volume became three, then five. I soon lost count. I filled the pages, covers, and margins with endless scribbles legible only to me.
What did I find irresistibly note-worthy?
Later, as I tackled the project of condensing what I’d learned into a cohesive narrative, I realized that I had a herculean chore ahead of me. I started weeding through the data by highlighting similar topics and philosophies, looking for the main themes of my healing journey. I then revised and expanded on pertinent topics.
Along the way, I made an interesting discovery ….
Being a truth sleuth means more than simply being on the hunt for information. It means being able to gather what you need and discard what you don’t.
There is, after all, such a thing as too much information. And, what about conflicting information? Sometimes what I tripped over directly contradicted what I already thought I knew! To make sense of it all, I had a steep learning curve ahead of me.
Fortunately, I made other discoveries that impacted my ability to crystalize my path. The following scenario served as a significant turning point for me.
I attended a conference where a well-known expert gave a brilliant explanation of how the thyroid functions. Knowing the importance of how thyroid dysfunction relates to fibromyalgia, I was all ears.
Her opening statement was so pithy and vivid that it left me with a clear picture in my mind of how the thyroid becomes compromised. My interest was piqued. Then, she ruined it all. She went on to explain – in meandering detail – specifics that seemed unrelated to me. I never made a linking correlation from her opening statement to what she was trying to explain.
Even though I was highly interested and the terminology was familiar, I just didn’t follow. Her delivery left me feeling like I was struggling to get a clear view out of a dirty window.
My natural impulse afterward was to feel guilty. I felt I should have gotten more from the lecture. I blamed fibrofog and wanted a do-over. Then I realized something so important that it serves me to this day. I was asking myself if she was to blame or was it me? My discovery was this – it didn’t matter. The main point was that I didn’t get the information I needed. I realized that it was okay to move on, and look for answers from another source.
Here are four main discoveries I made along the way. Use them to further your own path toward becoming a truth sleuth.
I don’t have to “click” with absolutely every health and wellness expert out there. Some may have great info, but if I don’t follow their train of thought, it’s okay for me to hop off. I don’t have to view it as a derailment. I have a right to trust my own intuition and seek solutions from those who feel right to me.
In the same way, when it comes to websites, blogs, lectures, podcasts, books, and programs, etc., I can apply the same premise. I can tune in – or tune out – based on how well I connect with the source.
I learned to respect my own guidance or intuition as to what information applies to me (or to my education) and what doesn’t. I’ve learned to take notes on applicable information and sift out the rest. I don’t have to write down and take in absolutely everything as gospel.
This may lead me to get one piece of the puzzle from one source, and an additional piece from another. That’s okay. I’ve learned to sense what information applies to the topic I’m studying. When it comes to finding “true” information, I don’t always have to be right. I just have to be willing to accept new information as possible and helpful until and/or unless I find otherwise.
I learned to respect what does work for me, what makes sense to me, and what applies to me. Since we are all genetically unique, solutions that work for others may not work for me. I now respect that while a solution may not work for everyone, it may still work for me.
I learned that there’s never just ONE solution or answer to most health challenges. Therefore it’s the collection of ideas that I gather that’s important. I get to decide what belongs in my collection and what I’ll discard.
So, now that you know the fundamental principles that will foster your personal growth as a truth sleuth, you may wonder … how do you wade through the plethora of information available?
Here are a few quick tips on doing any type of research.
Set a timer – This is so simple (not to mention obvious) that it’s easy to overlook. Set a basic timer next to your computer the next time you need to grab information and respect the limit you’ve set.
Define the topic specifics – First, jot down the one thing you’re looking for and maybe two or three sub categories related to that one topic. For example, you may want to learn more about yoga. You can search for the term Yoga, and then further refine that search to Restorative Yoga, and Fibromyalgia Yoga.
If you see something that’s interesting, but doesn’t directly relate to your search, move on. (Refer to the following three tips on how to do this).
Bookmark your findings – Use your browser’s bookmark feature to mark websites and articles for future reading. Don’t get sidetracked by reading information that doesn’t directly apply to your current search topic.
Create a Word (or Excel) doc – Use a basic document to list or track links for future research. Copy and paste the link into the document along with the date, and a simple description.
Create a folder in your email provider – Setting up folders in your email provider is easy. Set them up for newsletters, informational emails, messages, and conversations, etc. that you wish to review “later.” And here’s an additional tip – set a specific day and time each week to go through this folder to weed out what you no longer need.
Limit distractions – While you’re doing your research, concentrate and do one thing at a time. Just because we can multitask doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.
Don’t avoid “sales” sites – This one might surprise you. Just because a website, blog, or online magazine has products or services to sell, don’t think that the free information has diminished value. Most online health and wellness practitioners have two sides to their businesses: One that gives away information freely and one that makes a living.
Make no mistake, if the site wasn’t making a living (by selling something!), then they wouldn’t have the financial resources to continue providing the free information. They’d soon be out of business. Having something to sell is a necessity of economics. Even non-profit sites need an income (usually gathered from donations).
Of course, sometimes articles are nothing but a sales pitch for a specific product. Refer to item #2 above. You get to decide if the information is relevant to you – or not. It’s your call. If it feels smarmy, by all means, click away and move on.
There you have it! You’re now armed with what you need to know to become your own truth sleuth. Are you ready to research, discover, and track what you need to know to move your healing journey forward?
Why not start now? Begin on this very site. At the beginning of this article, we discussed research in the areas of nutrition, fitness, and self-care as it relates to fibromyalgia. Here are a few articles to get you started!
Sue Ingebretson (www.RebuildingWellness.com) is an author, speaker, certified holistic health care practitioner and the director of program development for the Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Center at California State University, Fullerton. She is also a Patient Advocate/Fibromyalgia Expert for the Alliance Health website and a Fibromyalgia editor for the ProHealth website community.
Her #1 Amazon best-selling chronic illness book, FibroWHYalgia, details her own journey from chronic illness to chronic wellness. She is also the creator of the FibroFrog™– a therapeutic stress-relieving tool which provides powerful healing benefits with fun and whimsy.
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