Nov 10, 2018

Seven Tips for Boosting Self-Esteem with Arthritis

It’s hard to keep healthy self-esteem and positive body image when your body is literally turning on you. When you have arthritis, managing physical symptoms and preventing future damage are focal points of your treatment. Unfortunately, arthritis can take a heavy emotional and mental toll as well. The emotional and mental sides may not be visible, but they are just as important to treat. Studies show that negative thoughts and emotions can aggravate symptoms while positive thinking can actually have a healing effect. The good news is that there are steps you can take to avoid negative thoughts that lower self-esteem. Use the following seven tips for boosting your self-esteem when you have arthritis.

Evaluate self-talk.

It’s easy for those with arthritis to focus on the negatives. However, recognizing and minimizing these pessimistic thoughts is a crucial part of healing and controlling your body’s response to stress. Actively focus on stopping yourself in the middle of unconstructive and critical thoughts and work on replacing them with positive affirmations.

Consider therapy.

Changing your outlook and changing the way you talk to yourself will be difficult to do on your own. To learn how to encourage yourself and do it in a way that lifts your mood, boosts self-esteem, and relieves pain, you may need to consider therapy.

Set goals.

Set challenging, yet realistic, goals. While focusing on the physical is important, try to think outside of your body as well. Set goals that link to your beliefs, aspirations, and emotions. Make sure they are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely.

Try new things.

When you have arthritis you are limited in the things you can do. It is important to focus on trying new activities that you are able to fully participate in, and that you truly enjoy. According to Joint, Bone, Spine, finding a new hobby that keeps you active not only improves self-esteem, it can help slow disease progression, alleviate depression and help you sleep better.

Stay active.

While arthritis may force you to slow down, you cannot stop. Commit to your mind and body in positive ways. Manage your weight, stay physically active, and get involved in activities that promote a positive attitude. Exercise has been shown to decrease anxiety and increase levels of mood-boosting chemicals. Your daily workout can be as simple as 30 minute walk or gentle yoga. If you don’t currently have an exercise program, start small and start slow. As your body gets stronger, so will your self-esteem.

Stay social.

Socializing and being with the people you love is a huge part of your mental and physical health. Don’t let arthritis slow you down and keep you from being with the people who bring out the best in you. If you’ve focused too much on your limitations and other negative thoughts, it may be time to schedule some time with your friends and family. You may also consider joining an online or off-line support group as a way to build new friendships and learn new techniques for coping.

Focus on acceptance.

Focusing on changing how you think is a huge part of improving your self-esteem, but it’s just as important to focus on accepting yourself as you are. The reality is that not everything is always perfect when you have a chronic disease. Some days you’ll be tired or have to deal with pain, so if negative thoughts and feelings arise, it’s better to accept them rather than to try to completely dismiss them. Work to appreciate yourself as a person and don’t let your illness define you. You may have physical limitations, but don’t impose those limitations on who you are as a person.

While you are working on who you are inside, it is important to recognize that low self-esteem is not something you are forced to accept when you have a chronic condition. However, only you can make these changes and you have to take that first step to a better, stronger you. Carolina Arthritis would love to be a part of your journey and help you live your best, most confident life. If you have any questions on your physical or mental health, call the team at Carolina Arthritis today.