40 THE QUEENS COURIER • HEALTH • DECEMBER 14, 2017 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
Overcoming self-doubt while living with a chronic illness
Many people impacted by rheumatoid
arthritis experience feelings of self-doubt
- but a head-on approach can lead to selflove.
Th e mind is directly interconnected with
your physical body, and while this stands
true for everybody, it is something people
living with a chronic illness are reminded
of every day.
For people living with rheumatoid
arthritis (RA) - an autoimmune disease
of the joints that impacts approximately
1.6 million people in the United States -
it can be challenging to stay mentally and
emotionally positive when your health is
always on your mind. Th e symptoms of
RA and their eff ect on physical functioning
can impact overall well-being, which
can lead to feelings such as self-doubt.
Does our physical health aff ect our mental
When fi rst diagnosed with a chronic
condition like RA, many patients may
struggle to accept their disease. Th e emotional
process to acceptance can be diffi -
cult, but try to understand your condition
better and make a conscious choice to face
Further, managing symptoms such as
joint pain and stiff ness, and fatigue can
make it diffi cult to do common everyday
tasks, which can lead to mental and emotional
So how can you overcome self-doubt?
Turning self-doubt into self-love
For people living with a chronic condition
like RA, it’s important to remember
that you don’t have to settle. Th at’s why
taking one day at a time is critical in any
approach to self-care.
Take the fi rst step by becoming more
aware of your emotions and feelings when
it comes to the management of your RA.
Own your experience with the disease by
recognizing and accepting feelings of frustration,
anxiety, or guilt about your RA
in order to refocus your emotions toward
resilience, hope, and joy.
Here are some additional tips and tricks
to combat self-doubt:
• Ground yourself: Balance out the negative
by thinking about the positive
aspects of your life. In doing this exercise,
remember that sometimes the
positive things are small and simple: a
bouquet of fresh fl owers on your dining
room table, a book that makes you
laugh out loud, or a phone call with an
old friend. Directing your focus toward
these positive aspects of your life can
make a huge diff erence!
• Set a timeline: It’s okay to acknowledge
negative feelings sometimes, but don’t
let this go on for too long. Give yourself
a deadline for when it’s time to mentally
shift your focus.
• Invest in yourself: Take some time each
day to read, listen, or watch something
that uplift s you.
• Set the mood: Create a set of your own
soundtracks! One playlist might bring
back good memories, another might
make you feel motivated to take on a
busy day, and perhaps another makes
you feel calm and relaxed. Music is a
powerful tool, and setting the mood
through music is a fun and easy way to
practice self-care and redirection of your
• Refl ect on your self-perception: Focus on
what defi nes you as a person and learn to
accept who you are. Remind yourself of a
time when you overcame self-doubt. Ask
yourself, “Am I talking to myself the way
I would talk to my spouse or my friend?”
• Connect with others: Surround yourself
with people who love and encourage
you. You may also fi nd solace in
connecting with others living with RA,
whether it is online or in-person.
• Most importantly: Understand your
own body and your own needs on your
journey to self-love.
Above all, make time for yourself; this
alone is an act of love toward yourself!
Making time for yourself can take on
many forms, including those listed above
as well as things like going for a walk,
taking a bath, even taking a moment to
enjoy the view out of your kitchen window!
Making “me time” happen is what
can ultimately help you look beyond the
“When I was fi rst diagnosed, I struggled
to keep things going,” says Elaine R.,
patient advocate and administrative assistant
living with RA. “Even though I was
unable to do my usual yoga routines, I did
feel a sense of relief from my yoga music
and deep breathing. I think focusing on
the positive things in your life, no matter
how small, is a great idea. Little joys are a
If you have a chronic disease like RA, it’s
important to remember that it does not
defi ne you and there are steps you can take
to better manage lifestyle challenges as a
result of your condition. With research
and communication with your rheumatologist
or other healthcare professional,
there are ways to prioritize your health and
choose self-love over self-doubt.
For more tips on how to overcome selfdoubt
and negative emotions, and choose
self-love while living with RA, visit www.
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