Attitude is everything
Handling RA on a day to day basis requires a lot of tools. From my perspective one of the most important and perhaps less tangible ones is attitude. For me, attitude as it relates to RA is all about the manner (both mentally and physically) in which we deal with the realities of a chronic, painful disease.
A great saying that applies so perfectly to this concept goes like this: “A bad attitude is like a flat tire – you can’t go anywhere unless you change it”. I have no idea who said this but I have seen and heard it many times over the years from teachers and my grandfather. It provides a perfect visual expression of just how crucial a positive attitude is to managing RA.
Beyond that the notion of change as it relates to attitude is especially relevant to our RA management. Appointments and discussions with your medical team can be an opportunity to showcase your positive approach to dealing with RA. I try to go my appointments with a proactive, inclusive attitude and I am certain that my physician appreciates it. One of the earliest realities of living with RA for me was having to step away from some activities I really enjoyed like tennis, running, cooking to name a few. At first I was devastated to have to “give up” doing things I loved. But I came to understand that they are all replaceable. Yes that’s right. THEY ARE ALL REPLACEABLE. In fact, on the flip side, RA has forced me to try new things, some of which I am quite certain would never have been on my radar.
I am, by no means, suggesting that we all walk around with rose colored glasses on. The reality of RA is, in fact, part and parcel of managing your attitude. By opening yourself up to fully assimilate what having a chronic, progressive disease means to you on a very personal and individual level, you can tailor how best to respond to it, including how to stay positive and proactive.
Surely there are times when I just cannot muster a good attitude no matter how I try. Usually there is a direct relationship to these times and RA problems hitting all at once like insurance issues, pain, mobility problems, treatment concerns, etc. So when I am able to take a deep breath and settle down (talking it out with a family member or friend can be the perfect solution) I am then able to make some strategic decisions that will allow that positive attitude to take over again.
Success breeds more success and nowhere is this more true than in the day to day dealings we are faced with while managing RA. When things are not going well and I find myself seeing and feeling only the negative I try to step back so to speak, and recall how I handled this in the past OR who do I need to seek out for assistance with this particular issue? Once I have taken action it makes me feel so much better! That alone picks up my attitude which then builds on itself.
Developing and keeping a positive attitude does not come easy and definitely takes some deep thought and commitment. But when you are able to fully embrace a good and productive attitude you will find that managing RA becomes so much less cumbersome, overwhelming, depressing and difficult. A great outcome for sure.
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