What’s in Your Toolbox for a Fibromyalgia Perspective Tune-Up?

What’s in Your Toolbox for a Fibromyalgia Perspective Tune-Up?

Through the Fog

Adjusting our perspective is a matter of tweaks and cleaning up the static. It’s so easy to just settle in and stay stuck where we are, isn’t it? I know we all go through periods when we’re not interested in adjusting our perspective, which is OK as long as we don’t stay there.

Let’s always be seeking ways to change our outlook and bring greater joy to our world of unending pain and suffering. Let’s put some helpful tools in our “perspective toolbox:”

Write it down — Keep a journal to write your dreams as well as your frustrations. No filter, just write. This is not about writing well; it’s about dumping thoughts and feelings on paper. Getting it out is valuable to our healing.

Listen to uplifting music — Whatever kind of music soothes you, listen to that. It might be jazz, country, rock, gospel, or just nature sounds. It amazes me how music can positively affect our mood and state of being.

Get honest feedback — Ask someone who’s willing to be really honest with you, and not just say what they think you want to hear. Ask them if they’ve noticed things you talk about that bring a light to your face, or even things that seem to drag you down. We can’t change what we’re not aware of.

Envision your future — While we are guaranteed only this moment, it’s good to dream about what our future could be like. Don’t let negative things drag you down. Maybe create a dream board so you have a visual picture of what you’re striving for. Use words and pictures. Let your imagination run wild and have fun with it.

Delete negative self-talk — Erase all those mental tapes that spout negative thoughts and words. For example, if you’re prone to say, “I’m never going to get better,” replace that with something like, “I’m getting a little better everyday.” You are truly amazing; keep reminding yourself of that.

Be thankful for all you have — I have a gratitude journal that I try to write at least three things I am thankful for each day. It could be simple things like my cat curled up next to me, I got a good parking spot, I cooked a healthy meal. It’s helpful on those harder days to take a look at all the things you’ve written in your gratitude journal. It can really change your outlook and remind you there are good things, too.

Learning to reframe — I’m sure you’ve heard it said that perspective is everything. Reframing takes some of the old/negative thoughts and changes the way you see it. Changing the way we see our diagnosis can be very empowering. Sometimes that just means letting go and grabbing onto faith, seeing something beyond ourselves, strengthening us for the battle. It’s a changing of direction on our path and making different choices. Don’t get trapped in the mire of discouragement; it will keep you stuck.

What are some tools you’ve used to change your perspective?

Note: Fibromyalgia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Fibromyalgia News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to fibromyalgia.

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Robin Dix is a Patient Specialist and Columnist for Fibromyalgia News Today. She is a wife and mother of three adult children, and began her journey with fibromyalgia many years ago. Since that time, she has used the illness to be an inspiration to others. Although the fatigue and pain often keep her bed-bound, she has created multiple streams of income from home and learned how to be a success in her personal and professional life in spite of FM. "I'm taking my lemons and making lemonade," she says of her own life experience, which she also chronicles on her blog In Spite of My Illness. In her exclusive patient column, Robin covers a wide range of health and lifestyle issues relating to the condition, and seeks to engage other FM patients in understanding their own experiences as well as new ways to cope with FM and live life to the fullest.

11 comments

  1. Em says:

    Hi Denise! Always a pleasure to see your smile and read your words.
    I have been going through a very difficult time due to turning 65 and ignorance. Still crawling through hoops. Anger and frustration are not helpful at all.
    I have a fantasy bucket list!!!!!!!!!!!
    Blessings and Peace and thank you so much for this site. I am very new to all of this technology as I not a clue how to do much of anything.
    Cannot stay online for long because of DDD of the spine-esp. the neck. Much of the damage caused by psychiatric drugs. Shame, shame on those doctors using the power like they did-GRRRRRRR!!!!
    Another vent episode.

  2. Denise Bault says:

    Robin, what a terrific article! It’s not hard to turn all “negative” when you’re in constant pain, chronically fatigued and you’ve lost all that you had and/or once were. But it’s sooooo much better to turn that energy into a positive. After all, it has to go somewhere; why not make it someplace good? I’ve heard that it’s “NOT what happens to us that makes us WHO WE ARE, but rather how WE REACT TO IT.” Food for thought. We’ve all had those really bad days. Today, well, today it is a good one.:-) Thank you for your support and positivity!

    • Robin Dix says:

      Denise, you are such an encouragement!! I agree that it’s not what happens to us but how we respond to it that’s makes the biggest difference. Do glad you’re having a good day! 💜

    • Em says:

      I have learned it takes less energy to smile and try to be happy than being a grizle bear with a sore paw-although I do get this way at times. I miss having my own land and living in such close proximity w/ others is a challenge because of being so sensitive to sounds. Even the TV or music of any kind are horrific. High winds here last night and the lady in the apartment above me has these large bamboo chimes so it sounded like a herd of cattle with bells clanking all night and it still does!!! She is very hard of hearing. What happened to my little solar cabin in the woods surrounded by nature as my neighbor??
      Far more fortunate than many.

  3. Shannon says:

    I have a loving kindness mantra a yoga teacher gave to us that works really well for me. You say it for yourself, then for someone you have challenges with (conflict etc), then someone you love/admire, then for the world.

    Say it when you have a shower, when you have some moments alone when it is peaceful and quiet, like a meditation. Over and over is quite ok. Especially if you are trying to silence that sometimes nasty and negative inner voice.

    “May I be free from inner and outer harm. May I be peaceful and happy. May I be healthy and strong. May I take care of myself joyfully.”

    Then you say it for others, “May you be …”

    If I’m having a really bad negative thought day, or a bad pain day, then I’ll go for a nice soak in the bath with epsom salts (they do so many wonderful things for the body, including relieving joint, nerve and muscle pain) and then a nap. I always wake up in a better frame of mind.

    Blessed be to all you Fibro Warriors! <3

    • Em says:

      Thank you-I like this. Most helpful after a day in Hades or so it seemed. I need a massage. Some lavender oil applied myself will suffice. Fibro can be unpredictable and when major depression strikes-AAARRRRGGGHHH!
      Tomorrow will be better.

  4. Denise Bault says:

    Em, ask the nice lady upstairs if she would remove her chimes. Explain your noise sensitivity to her and she may very well be accommodating. I’m really sensitive to noise too. Who knew it would be just another bizarre symptom of a bizarre illness?! Those that know me will often times try and accommodate my low tolerance to noise. Otherwise, I get away from it as fast as I can, if at all possible! Unfortunately, we live in a very noisy world. My wish for you today: A quiet, peaceful day!

  5. Em says:

    Thank you Denise, but the nice lady upstairs refused as they were a gift from her daughter for mother’s day. She is extremely hard of hearing and a nice lady-I was very kind in asking and she yelled at me (because she is nearly deaf) for asking-I know she does not understand and I am not the only one disturbed. She also has a 13 year old grandson that stays all summer, weekends, school vacations-she moved in (above me) a year after I did and I could not figure out what all of the running was above my head (as children are not allowed to live here). Finally asked about it and was told the property manager had allowed such-an exception. This has gone on and a variety of chimes all about me-I surmise I am being tested somehow. I cannot expect the entire world to be quiet because I am sensitive to noise. I may start making some of my own as in screams of insanity-price one pays for being disabled?? It is a very nice complex and I moved here because it is a senior community.
    The wind has rested and I am on the East side of bldg so lots of wind does not occur often. 55 mph wind gusts was a rare thing. I still have about 30 minutes before she gets up and turns her TV on and yes, so loud I can hear it above as well. I have always had very sensitive hearing and did okay until the onset of fibro and some days are far worse than others.
    I am not moving again. I have lived here for over 6 yrs. We do live in a noisy world!!!! I watch other people and ask myself however can they stand all of the racket????!!!! I have tried different things.
    I am thankful as I do have a nice home. Another move by myself-no matter where one lives there is noise, noise, noise!!!! A quiet little place w/ nature-in my fantasy bucket list.
    For now, no wind. I may go to the office and say something. I don’t want to do so as don’t want any problems.
    This old country kid is mostly maintaining. Barely, but maintaining. no panic attacks today, please…
    Wonder if the world could stop long enough for me to step off into sweet oblivion?
    I truly need some kind of help-sure, toss this in my fantasy bucket list too.

  6. Denise Bault says:

    Em, I get it. It’s too bad we’re not hard of hearing too! 🙂 Wouldn’t that make life just a little more bearable with fibromyalgia? But then, what would be the trade off? I’m sure we would miss a lot. I know what you mean about not wanting to rock the boat by complaining and also not wanting to move. It’s quite the quandary, isn’t it? Hey, at least you know you’re not crazy and there is at least one person who’s bothered as much by the noise as you! Small comfort, I know…but at least you’re NOT CRAZY! Your friend in quiet comfort, Denise

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