Coming Out of the Winter Doldrums – How Your Attitude Affects Your Painhoward.spaeth
During winter months, we always see an increase in worsening conditions. Following long periods of limited movement and outside activity, patients are complaining of stiff joints and muscle aches. This leads to further inactivity and even depression in some people.
While it’s true that the cold, wet winter weather may not be the kindest to our aches and pains, it’s our mental attitude that also affects the degree of discomfort we feel. If you think you can’t do any physical activity, then you probably won’t even try. If you wake up every morning and focus on your pain and its limitations, you set the tone of the day.
In controlled testings, studies show that when two sets of patients were given the same drug but instructed that their results would be different (one would feel relief and one would not), the outcome was exactly what each expected, rather than the actual effects. In other words, even though both groups were given the same drug, the group that expected relief, experienced relief. The group that heard the suggestion that the drug may NOT help, found no relief.
With Spring on our doorstep, it’s the perfect time to try to adjust your attitude – and your pain.
Instead of thinking of all of the things you can’t do, concentrate on the things you CAN do. Turn your attention to the healthy parts of your body and use those parts.Even minimal, gradual activity will help.
To perk up your state of mind, try Music. Listen to some of your favorite songs. Create new playlists. Research some of favorite hits and see if there are new artists that may fit into your favorite genre. And, if the music moves you, get up and dance! Dance down your hallway. Dance in your living room. Dance while you brush your teeth. You can even dance while you’re sitting down! It’s a great way to get yourself moving and feeling good at the same time.
While we tend to “nest” in Winter, Spring is usually a time to purge. Try a little Spring Cleaning to clear the clutter in your mind and your closets. Start the new season fresh by getting rid of old clothes (especially those we wear in cold weather!), reorganizing coat closets, linen closets, and
Catch up with Friends. Make plans to get together – out of the house. After you commiserate on the horrible winter you’ve shared, talk about your plans for Spring or your upcoming vacation. Join a book club. Start a rotating monthly card game.
Set Goals. Even small ones. Maybe it’s as simple as walking to the end of your entry way. Then to the end of your driveway. Then to the corner. Park at the far end of the parking lot. Make at least one of your daily meals a healthy one. If you start out small, you feel incredibly satisfied as you achieve each of your simple goals and, eventually, your renewed confidence will lead you to try new, more healthy