Reality Check Please
I have come to realize over the 18+ year of “friendship” with RA that from time to time I need to take stock by doing a distinct and considerable reality check. Why? Because I have come to discover that my thoughts create reality. What I mean by that is if you think it, believe it, repeat that thought often enough it can become true.
For instance, daily happiness is a perfect example for me. Last Sunday started out miserable. I am flaring right now so my mood is not great to begin with. Sleep is elusive, various joints are really painful, etc. I was determined to go swimming however, thinking that even if I could not do laps or strength train I could at least walk around and gain some flexibility thanks to the joint neutral nature of water. I wake up and to my dismay it is snowing (in Vermont in the winter this is not unusual) and really cold and the place I go to workout is on a mountain. I called them and they said the roads were not good. I did not go. What was so bothersome was that it was not predicted and so it took me by surprise. Next, I take my dog for her morning walk and she decides NOT to do her business which is always annoying because then I have to watch her vigilantly in the house until she does decide to go. Next, we have a new paperboy and he has decided it is perfectly fine to throw the paper just outside of the covered porch so that I have to go down slippery steps to get it. It was literally 4 inches from being in a covered spot. Next, I had planned to make chili but I had forgotten to take out the meat and so that to went by the wayside. At this point I am getting frustrated and angry and unhappy and it is only 8 AM!
So, something in me, I like to think my 60 years of wisdom, said…hold up…just hold up…now take a deep breath and let’s see if we cannot salvage this day. I went back upstairs, took a long hot shower to ease the joint pain, had a cup of coffee and read the newspaper (yes I did get it) and decided to clean out a few kitchen drawers while I waited for hubby to rise and shine. Well one drawer led to another and then I went upstairs and did two more in my bedroom. Then I decided to do a little Tai Chi while I waited and voila – I was smiling and feeling pretty accomplished. My husband came down stairs and was very impressed at how I had turned my day around…we went for nice breakfast, did some errands and even went to movie later! My once horrible day had actually become a really productive and fun one!
I believe that because RA is so chaotic and unpredictable, we strive to find control in our daily lives even more than the average person. So much is OUT of our control that we NEED to have somethings IN our control. So when that goes awry we can (I sure can anyway) fall apart and descend into places that are hard to get out of. Sadness, anger, frustration and on and on can become the emotions of the moment.
Which is precisely why we need to learn to practice taking reality checks more often than most people. I would go so far as to say it is a key to functioning well with RA. An absolute necessity. That ability to stop the negative thoughts and downward spiral are critical to maintaining a healthy outlook. If we want to not only survive but thrive with RA we have to employ strategies that will ensure that happens! Doing reality checks is one of them!
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