Navigating Stress and Finding Strength Within
Last updated: November 2023
Living with psoriatic arthritis (PsA) has been a challenging journey, filled with highs and lows. Among the various obstacles, stress has emerged as a powerful force that significantly impacts my pain levels and overall well-being. However, I have learned to embrace a combination of spiritual practices, lifestyle adjustments, and self-care techniques to confront stress head-on and reclaim control over my life, one step at a time.
How can stress impact psoriatic arthritis?
Stress and chronic pain have a complex relationship that has been well-documented by researchers and healthcare professionals. For individuals with PsA, stress can trigger and exacerbate painful flares, making it imperative to find effective ways to manage emotional, environmental, and physical stressors.
How have I addressed emotional stress?
Prayer has become my solace during difficult times. Connecting with a higher power offers me a sense of peace and hope, helping me release pent-up emotions. Meditation, too, has been a guiding light on this arduous path. By practicing mindfulness, I learn to be present in the moment and let go of worries that might otherwise consume me. Additionally, hypnosis has been a surprising yet effective tool in reducing stress. Engaging my subconscious mind to ease anxiety has empowered me to face each day with renewed strength.
How do I manage environmental stress?
In the outside world, stress often lurks in various forms – be it social obligations or financial concerns. To maintain a healthy balance, setting boundaries has been vital. Saying no when necessary has allowed me to conserve precious energy and prioritize self-care. Financial planning, too, has become an essential aspect of my life. Sticking to a budget and staying ahead of home and car maintenance have prevented unexpected financial burdens that would otherwise weigh heavily on my already burdened shoulders.
How do I deal with physical stress?
Managing physical stress is crucial in dealing with PsA and related conditions. Pacing myself and not overexerting has prevented flares and ensured a more balanced lifestyle. Identifying pain triggers and limiting activities that induce pain has been transformative in preserving my overall health.
But despite all my efforts, one form of stress remains out of my control – internal physical trauma. Abdominal adhesions, a consequence of endometriosis, a botched hysterectomy, and multiple surgeries, have become a constant source of distress within my body. The pain they inflict is relentless, and it's disheartening to know that surgery, which could potentially alleviate the suffering, has been denied.
What have I learned?
The denial of surgical intervention may seem like an insurmountable obstacle, but I have realized that my strength lies in coping with such challenges. While I may not be able to eliminate all forms of stress, I refuse to let them define me or hold me back from taking charge of what I can control.
Living with psoriatic arthritis has taught me resilience beyond measure. Each day brings new hurdles, but with each hurdle comes an opportunity to grow stronger. I have learned to be gentle with myself during times of struggle, allowing myself to feel the emotions that arise without judgment.
Throughout this journey, I have been fortunate to have a support network of loved ones who understand and empathize with my condition. Their unwavering support has been instrumental in navigating the toughest of times.
How do I find control over my life?
While stress may seem like an omnipotent force that relentlessly impacts my life with psoriatic arthritis, I have discovered that resilience, faith, and self-care are powerful tools to counter its effects. By addressing emotional, environmental, and physical stressors with prayer, meditation, financial planning, and self-advocacy, I can regain a sense of control over my life.
Despite the internal physical trauma that persists, I remain hopeful and determined to lead a fulfilling life. Embracing the lessons learned from PsA, I will continue to strive forward, knowing that the strength to overcome lies within me. Each day is a new opportunity to grow, and I am committed to living my best life, regardless of the challenges that come my way. Remember, it's not about eliminating all stress but learning to adapt and cope with it that truly defines our journey.
Do you have any questions about PsA?