While we make New Year's resolutions with the best of intentions, most people have given up by the end of January. Resolutions are hard for anyone to keep, especially those of us with fibromyalgia because they require consistent, daily lifestyle changes.
Let's look at some post-holiday strategies and tips...
Our thoughts set a precedent for our day—whether positive or negative. This can include our mood, behavior, productivity, events, and even pain levels. When we tell ourselves that we are going to have a good day, we generally end up having positive experiences and are better able to cope with any negative situations that may arise.
On the other hand, if we start the day off telling ourselves we are going to have a bad day, or it is going to be a long day at work, that will become the experience. When we are in a negative state and external stressors arise, our bodies typically react in a stressful state to that situation.
There may be an increase in cortisol levels, elevated blood pressure, digestive upset, joint pain, headaches, etc. Negative energy may also impact the central nervous system. Because our cells hold on to energy, it creates a cellular memory-similar to muscle memory.
When our mind is in a negative state, our bodies trap the negative energy, and vice-versa with positive thoughts. By introducing positive self-talk, you can create a new habit, increase neurotransmitters, and reduce inflammation—the precursor to dis-ease.
Our thoughts are tied to our subconscious and our emotions. When our psychological and physiological systems are in balance, our bodies can heal more productively. By taking care of yourself (mind, body, and spirit), your body will take care of you!
Tips for living positively:
- Focus on positive affirmations. You can place post-it notes with affirmations or quotes around your house, on your bathroom mirror, in your car, etc.
- Stand in front of your mirror. Look into your eyes, smile and repeat affirmations out loud. Example: I am loved, I am happy, I deserve to feel well.
- Accomplish a goal. Example: Clean a closet, organize craft supplies, walk 1/2 mile, etc.
- Meditation and/or prayer. These activities help calm the nervous system from the fight-or-flight state into the parasympathetic state to induce a sense of calm and relaxation.
- Exercise 30 minutes a day. Exercise can promote a positive mindset by increasing serotonin and neurotransmitters, flushing out cortisol (the stress hormone). Example: walking, swimming, pilates, yoga.
- Nourish your body with real food. Example: Fresh or frozen fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, cage-free meat, spices. When your body has clean fuel and a balanced diet, it can fight off dis-ease with improved digestion, a stronger immune system, and a better mood.
Start by introducing one of these tips into your day for the next three weeks. Be conscious of the changes you experience. Record them in a journal so you can visually see how practicing positivity affects you.
We at FCI enjoy interacting with visitors on our Facebook page and answering your questions. If you have a question you'd like to ask, want to enjoy the ongoing discussion, or simply have a story that you'd like to share about your journey with fibromyalgia, we invite you to join us!