alt=a woman finds inner peace through decluttering her emotions

Decluttering the Emotions of RA

Last updated: May 2022

We all know that along with the physical demands that come with a chronic disease, there are mental/emotional demands as well. I believe that there is a need to declutter them in much the same way we declutter our possessions now and then. This discussion will explain how and why this is yet another step in successfully managing rheumatoid arthritis.

Clearing the emotional clutter

As I reflected on my 25-year journey with RA, I could see the timeline of events that had brought me to where I am today. Along with those events and circumstances are the accompanying emotions. They have shaped who I am and how I currently manage the mental aspect of my RA. Some of those emotions have served me well, some not so much. It became time to let go of the ones I no longer needed to consider. Just like decluttering the overcrowded closet, I needed to take the time to do the same with my RA emotions. The time had come to clear some of that emotional clutter.

Just like trying on those clothes in the closet, I needed to look at the emotions I was storing in my “mental closet” and decide if they still “fit” my needs or did I need to discard them? Does that emotion serve a purpose in managing my RA? If not, it was time to release them!

Let go of negative relationships

For example, one thing we often continue to hold onto is negative relationships and the emotions that go with them. Whether they are with members of our care team, working relationships, or personal ones, they need to go if they are dragging you down and interfering with your RA management! I had a difficult work relationship several years ago that was affecting me so negatively that, in addition to triggering RA flares, I began to lose my eyelashes and my eyebrows! I decided to make a change, and suffice it to say, my solution worked, and within a short time, I saw a huge difference.

That single success opened the door to examine other relationships and determine if they brought me joy and satisfaction or not. If not, I stepped away from them. What a difference it has made in my life and my RA. It is not always that simple, of course. Most relationships are complicated and not always easily dismissed. But examining what I needed allowed me to take a long, careful look at all of them. At the least, I could choose which ones to give the most energy and attention to, which alone improved my emotional and physical health.

Re-evaluate your fears

Another example was that I hung on to the emotion of fear. Fear seems to go hand in hand with a chronic disease. For far too long, it invaded most of my decisions socially, workwise, etc. I decided to declutter my fear and examine when it made sense and when it needed to be released. Just that simple act of reflecting on it worked.

I realized that far too often, my fear had no real basis in reality but rather was based on past anxieties. Fear makes sense if it keeps you from doing something that could be detrimental to your health, but if you let it rule your life, you soon become paralyzed. Once I learned how to declutter my fear, it made a huge difference.

A new-found inner peace

Once I was able to remove the anxiety and discomfort of decluttering my emotions and how they relate to my RA management, I found true peace and clarity in the process. Sorting through my feelings and determining which ones bring me joy, contentment, and success in my RA journey has been a true revelation. I encourage you to try it.


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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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