Help on how to reduce stress

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by ferichards, Jul 26, 2003.

  1. ferichards

    ferichards New Member

    It seems like I have been sick forever. I know I started out with FM after my second child was born. I can remember my joints hurting so bad and me thinking again that I had the flu. It would let up for a long peroid of time and then it would hit me again. I went to many Drs. with them telling me the same thing that I am a young mother of 4 children and I am just wornout and tired, and the rest was just in my head. They tried sending me to shrinks all the time. And for a while I believed them. What else could I think when pretty much every Dr. told me so. I ended up having a nervous breakdown and was hosptialized. It took 2 years and any Drs. before I got the rx of Lupus and FM. I think it was sad that I had to lose my mind in order for them to figure out what was wrong with me. As the years went on the FM got worse. I am now to the point that I take vicidon daily. I am not happy about it but it works for me. Is there a point when we do get better? I know stress play's a big role in having a flare. What are somethings any of you do to reduce stress?
    [This Message was Edited on 07/26/2003]
  2. smilemona

    smilemona New Member

    ....with my stressful thoughts is Loving What Is, by Byron Katie. Available on Amazon.

    It discusses a form of inquiry (4 questions and a turnaround) to ask of a stressful thought. It often shows me that what I thought was true, wasn't...because it wasn't reality! And I've noticed that when I believe things that aren't true, when I argue with reality, I suffer in a huge way!

    The way it goes is:

    You think of a stressful thought. (Often with a should/need/want in there.)

    Then you answer these questions about the thought.

    1. Is it true?
    2. Can you absolutely know that it's true?
    3. How do you react when you think the thought?
    4. Who would you be without the thought?

    Lastly is the Turnaround. (Find the opposites of the original stressful statement. Can you find where it is as true or truer?)

    If you'd like the website you can write me or do a Google search. My e-mail address is in my profile. :)

    This book has been key in so much of my healing. It really gives me a chance to be proactive with my thoughts and healing process instead of feeling like a victim to them. My stress levels have definitely been reduced!

    [This Message was Edited on 07/26/2003]
  3. smilemona

    smilemona New Member

    Stressful thought:
    **People should understand what I'm going through!

    1. Is it true that they should understand what you're going through?

    Answer: Yes, it would be so much easier on me if they did!

    2. Can you absolutely know that they should understand what you're going through? (What's the reality?)

    Answer: Well, lots of people don't understand what I'm going through. That's reality. So, No...I can't know that they should. If they were supposed to, they would!

    3. How do you react when you think the thought that they should understand what you're going through, and they don't?

    Answer: I feel really annoyed! I feel pressure to make them understand. I spend a lot of energy trying to explain it to them, and when they don't, I get frustrated. This makes me even more tired than I already am! I think things like, If they were really my friends they would understand. I put limits on our friendship. I feel alone in the world. I worry about people thinking that I'm making all my symptoms up. I feel a need to convince, to validate. I can even get pushy when I believe this thought! I also get defensive when someone doesn't understand me. My leg pain flares up, I can get a headache. This thought creates so much stress in my life!

    4. Who would you be without the thought that people should understand what you're going through...when they don't understand?

    Answer: I would be a lot less pushy. I'd be able to save my energy for taking care of myself instead of trying to change someone's thoughts about me or my symptoms. I'd notice that they're doing the best that they can right now. They're understanding as much as they can. So I'd be a better friend to them. My expectations aren't so high, so I'm not set up for disappointment. It's like when I was teaching my third graders, I didn't force them to understand things they weren't ready to understand. I was gentle with them. I can be gentle with my friends who don't understand what I'm going through. This feels a lot more peaceful.

    **Can you turn the thought around? (Finding the opposites)

    TA> They should not understand what I'm going through. (Unless they do. And the ones that don't understand, shouldn't. That's reality.)

    TA> They should be confused with what I'm going through. (Yes, that's reality for some of them. It's not my job to unconfuse them.)

    TA> I should understand what I'm going through. (Yeah, that's *my* job! Do I really know what I'm going through? It's practically a full time job to know that!)

    TA> I should understand what they're going through. (If I think it's so easy for them to understand what I'm going through, how about I completely understand what they're going through!? It's harder than it sounds. And until I can understand fully what they're going through, asking them to do it for me is hopeless.)

    So The Work (the name of this inquiry) shows me here that when I attach to a stressful thought, I get pushy, frustrated, stressed out, etc.

    It also shows me that without the stressful thought, I have a lot more energy to take care of myself becuase I'm not trying to change the people around me. I can let reality be the way that it is, and I can deal with *me*! So much more peaceful and healing.

    I welcome questions/comments about this example I shared. :)


  4. Achy-shaky

    Achy-shaky New Member

    I hear your frustration and can understand how this DD can lead to a nervous breakdown. I have a sister who had a breakdown too many hears ago and the only thing that has helped her after trying several things is taking heavy duty pain relievers so don't feel bad that you have to take them. It's possible for you to have a remission if you can get the disease under control and I know from experience that you need to get rid of many stress causing elements - I finally had to give up my stressful job.

    One thing that has helped my stress is to do deep breathing and do something different for a while to get your mind off what's stressing you. A way to remember this is these 6 steps by spelling out S-T-R-E-S-S:

    S = stop what you are doing
    T = take a deep breath (inhale thru nose counting to 4 & tighten all muscles and hold it for 5 sec.)
    R = release breath slowly (blow thru mouth to the count of 8 as you relax all muscles)
    E = express your feelings (by talking or journaling)
    S = stretch or take a walk
    S = seek help (if applicable, as in a work situation)

    I learned these in a stress management class and it sure helps me. It's also a good habit to do the deep breathing 2-3 times a day. Once you get into the habit of doing it you will find yourself doing it whenever you need to relax, such as in traffic, before a dr. appt. or a speech, before anything that normally stresses you.

    Loveness - your sample thought process is very good. I'll have to try it for those stressful thoughts that race thru my mind sometimes.

    Hope this helps.