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4. Try Alternative Relaxation Techniques

Many people use alternative therapies, such as hypnosis, progressive muscle relaxation, and guided imagery training to help manage stress. They are techniques you can learn from a practitioner, books, apps, or CDs, and then practice yourself. "These methods help teach you to carry a lower level of stress around," says Edward Charlesworth, PhD, author of Stress Management: A Comprehensive Guide to Wellness. "We all run into stressors throughout the day, but these therapies can help you learn how to manage your stress more effectively and make life more enjoyable."

In addition, acupuncture and massage therapy can also be helpful for reducing stress -- and can also help ease the pain of arthritis.

5. Take Time Away From OA

We always seem to find time for the things we have to do. But it’s just as important to make time in your schedule for activities you like, such as reading, having coffee with a friend, seeing a movie, or listening to music. Not only will this help reduce your stress level, but it may also help you forget about your arthritis pain.

6. Stay Connected and Say No to Joint Pain

Having friends feels good -- and it’s good for your health, too. "Most adults live with some type of pain, but studies show that the lonelier we are, the more likely we are to feel our pain," says Nortin Hadler, MD, MACP, MACR, FACOEM. Hadler is a professor of medicine and attending rheumatologist at the University of North Carolina. "One of the best ways to reduce stress and pain is to join a group of peers in an activity that you enjoy. It doesn’t matter if it’s a water aerobics class or a book group; the most important piece is getting out there and connecting with others."

Haynes says her church plays a big role in her social life. "I think it’s really important to be socially connected, so I try to get involved in church activities as much as I can. Being around other people is a great way to relieve stress and it just makes me feel good," she says.

You can find ways to connect by looking for groups in your community that share your interests, whether it’s bird watching, tennis, or bridge. Or consider volunteering or joining a support group.

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