Fibromyalgia is characterised by chronic pain, difficulty in focusing and recalling memories. There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding it, many of which surround how one can manage the condition. The below are some basic tips that can help.
Mental and physical activity
In terms of physical exercise, slow and steady – overall good feeling endorphins and helps the body get rid of toxins and stimulate cardiovascular health.
Mental and physical exercises can be said to maintain sharpness in one’s mind and body. The brain can be exercised in similar ways that we exercise the body. In similar disciplined fashions, the two-complement wellbeing and, contribute to overall health. In cases of fibromyalgia, many have stated that structured mental and physical activities have helped in the management of the condition.
Organisation and routine
Having some kind of structure can be helpful to many. To those dealing with a chronic condition such as fibromyalgia, structure and routine can create safety and can also facilitate certain tasks.
Good sleep hygiene
Good sleep is crucial to all of us, whilst asleep the body is ‘sorting’ memories and consolidating learning. At a deeper REM stage, the brain sends signals to repair body tissue. It is no coincidence that one tends to need to sleep after stressful events. Making sure that you get enough rest, putting away electronic devices at least an hour before you sleep, staying in low lights whilst doing some winding down or relaxation techniques can help. Sleeping and waking up at approximately the same times help the body get into a routine and ensures better quality of sleep.
Mindfulness/meditation and breathing exercises
Being mindful of your body can help you in increasing awareness of pain and pain relief. Meditation has also been proven to improve concentration and focus, along with memory. Not to mention it enhances feelings of connectedness and compassion.
There is also increasing research with regards to breathwork and management of pain and anxiety. Focusing on the breath, which plays an integral part in sustaining the body and the mind also helps to keep centred and thus in maintaining focus.
Psychotherapy and EMDR
Techniques in psychotherapy can help in a lot of areas: whether it is pain management, learning new coping skills as well as learning to live with a chronic condition. Certain techniques such as Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing (EMDR) have also been shown to help with calming down of the freeze, flight or fight mechanism.
This goes a step beyond what has been mentioned so far – it includes self-understanding and self-compassion. One good self-care routine could be to get in touch with nature every once in a while, doing so has been proven to provide calming effects.
Like with managing any condition, good sustenance is key. Making sure you are getting the right vitamins and the appropriate amount of macro-nutrients helps in maintaining mental and physical health.
While this list is not exhaustive, it can be a very good starting point. Maintaining all the above-mentioned coping skills can lead an individual living with chronic pain to learn to ease around the topic and to be more open and loving toward themselves. While a very difficult task, it is definitely one of the most rewarding.
Greenwood Counseling Center. (2019, July 25). How does EMDR therapy work? – greenwood counseling center – centennial, CO. Greenwood Counseling Center. Retrieved October 1st, 2022, from https://greenwoodcounselingcenter.com/emdr-clients/how-does-emdr-work/
What is sleep hygiene? Sleep Foundation. (2022, September 29). Retrieved October 1, 2022, from https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-hygiene
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Jessica Saliba Thorne is a Gestalt psychotherapist. She has experience within the mental health field and sees adults with mental health difficulties, relationship issues and trauma at Willingness.