Coping with stress can be an important factor in managing arthritis symptoms. Here are a few techniques to help you relax and relieve stress:
• To begin with, try to set aside time in a quiet place, away from people, TV, radio and other distractions.
• Close your eyes. Slowly tense and then relax muscles that feel tense. Begin with your feet and work up to your neck.
• Sit in a comfortable chair with your feet on the floor and your arms at your sides. Close your eyes. Breathe in, saying to yourself, “I am . . . ,” then breathe out saying ” . . . relaxed.” Continue breathing slowly, silently repeating to yourself something such as: “My hands are . . . warm; my feet . . . are warm; my forehead . . . is cool; my breathing . . . is deep and smooth; my heartbeat is . . . calm and steady; I am . . . happy; I feel calm . . . and at peace.”
• Light a candle, and focus your attention on the flame a few minutes. Then close your eyes and watch the image of the flame for a minute or two.
• Think about a place you have been where you once felt pleasure or comfort. Imagine it in as much detail as possible how it looks, smells, sounds and feels. Recapture the positive feelings you had then and keep them in your mind. Don’t make any room for negative thoughts, stress or pain.