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Arthritis Health Center

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Easing Stress, Easing Arthritis Symptoms

2. Meditate for Arthritis Pain Relief

When you think of meditation, you may imagine sitting in the lotus position on a cushion while repeating one word or phrase over and over. If this doesn’t appeal to you, don’t worry. Meditation comes in many forms -- you can meditate while walking, exercising, or taking a shower. "Meditation can be extraordinarily helpful for those with osteoarthritis," says Kolasinski. "It can help reduce stress and anxiety, and also help people learn to cope better with their pain."

Meditation is the act of clearing your mind to get in touch with what’s happening in your body. You can do this by focusing your attention on an object, such as a candle flame or a stone in your garden. Or, for a more active meditation, focus on the rhythm of your feet as you walk or the feeling of water spraying your body in the shower. If your thoughts drift back to your to-do list, that’s fine -- just gently bring your focus back. It may take some patience and practice, but many people find that a few minutes of meditation a day can do wonders to help relieve stress. As you become more comfortable with meditation, you can practice for longer periods of time.

If you need help getting started, you can find many books, DVDs, CDs, and apps about meditation in your local bookstore, library or online. Look for an approach that appeals to you.

3. Breathe Deeply to Lower Stress

One simple way to stop stress and feel more relaxed wherever you are is to take a few deep breaths. You can practice deep breathing while sitting, standing, or lying down. Here’s how:

  • Close your eyes if this feels good.
  • Place one hand on your stomach and the other hand on your chest.
  • Breathe in slowly. See if you can feel your stomach rise with your breath.
  • Hold your breath for a moment, and then breathe out. Feel your stomach fall.
  • Repeat as needed until you feel your body relax.

You can use this exercise whenever you’re feeling stressed to help you slow down and relax.

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