Spiritual Or Emotional Management and Healing

When you have fibromyalgia, the many different symptoms experienced can be draining emotionally as well as physically. The lack of certainty concerning progress towards healing, the ongoing pain and deep fatigue are often accompanied by feelings of hopelessness, guilt, helplessness, lack of meaning and a spiritual disturbance. The combination of emotional, spiritual and physical problems creates a downward spiral that will continue unless interrupted in some manner. You can turn to your doctor, pharmacologist and psychologist for help in dealing with your physical and emotional or psychological issues, and for many it’s just as important to rely on spiritual support and healing to find peace in life.

Spirituality Management

A person’s spirituality is a very important and personal aspect of their life. If it is threatened by the distress caused by fibromyalgia, is your well-being impacted? Research indicates that it is in many instances. Studies indicate that positive well-being is co-related to spiritual well-being. Spiritually helps an individual adapt to the symptoms of fibromyalgia and deal with the pain that so frequently accompanies this medical condition.[1] If you are a spiritual person, then it is imperative that you keep your spirituality intact as you live with fibromyalgia.

Managing your spirituality means regularly nourishing your soul and spirit. People have different methods they use ranging from attending church to writing. However, spirituality is a comprehensive term that encompasses your emotional well being as well as the well being of your soul. Though not everyone is religious, everyone has an emotional center that needs to stay in balance.

Following are some activities that can help you stay emotionally centered:

  • Attending religious ceremonies – If you practice a particular faith, it’s important to continue attending the religious ceremonies, enjoying the community spirit of a religious community and staying connected spiritually with a Higher Being.
  • Crying – Crying can help relieve certain pent up feelings so you are rejuvenated. In fact, tears have been studied and are believed by some researchers to be a physical method for eliminating harmful physical wastes.
  • Laughing – Always one of the best forms of medicine, laughter physically relieves stress and makes it easier to manage fear, worry and other emotions related to fibromyalgia.
  • Singing – Singing alone in the shower or singing in a church choir helps you maintain spirituality or emotional balance.
  • Listening to music – Music can be uplifting, soothing and inspiring. For some, music is used as a form of spiritual expression.
  • Reading – Reading a good book can always help you forget your troubles for a while by drawing you into a story and away from your everyday life. It can make you temporarily forget your health issues. If you choose to read books on spirituality, it’s easier to find inspiration, hope, guidance or restoration and reaffirmation of your faith or belief system.
  • Writing – Recording your experiences helps some people find meaning in what is happening in their lives.
  • Nature – By enjoying its beauties and power, nature can offer lessons in survival, acceptance and endurance. It is something that can help take your mind off your personal troubles. Nature can also bring you closer to a Higher Being. It is a spiritual and very elemental being that touches everyone in some fashion[2]

Following any of these simple methods may help you find the strength and inspiration needed for emotional and spiritual balance. The important point is that you should not ignore your spiritual well being when you have fibromyalgia because the many symptoms of this medical condition can be discouraging and difficult.

Practices to Aid in Spiritual Management and Healing

There are certain techniques or methods that can help you restore or nourish your spirituality during times of difficulty. It does not matter what faith or path you have chosen to follow because the goal is find the strength of spirit that you need. Following are some suggestions for emotional management strategies.

  • Meditation – Though we tend to think of meditation as being an Eastern religious activity, it is not solely a Buddhist or Hindu exercise. It is an ancient practice that uses the mind-body connection to help heal and maintain mental clarity. It is not always specifically religious in nature, but it can be when used to supplement prayer. Through meditation, you can reach a certain level where you feel you have risen above the mundane while at the same time you are embracing your reality.

People who meditate often speak of the peacefulness they feel. For some, this is a form of spirituality. They also talk of becoming one with the world. This is another form of spiritual fulfillment. Overall, meditation is capable of helping you find or regain your spirituality while helping you to let go of the painful aspects of fibromyalgia. The periods of serenity experienced during medication makes you feel more capable of managing fibromyalgia. Visualization, guided meditation and breathing can all play a role in meditation.

  • Yoga – Yoga is either an exercise to keep fit or part of a spiritual practice. Mastering yoga moves promotes emotional balance because mental control is also employed. In its true form, yoga is a form of spirituality when certain principles are involved including the 5 dimensions. The 5 dimensions encompass the body, mind, life energy, intellect and spirituality.[3] Yoga can help you manage pain using minimal physical exertion and mental peace of mind. It is a form of self-realization that helps reduce the disturbances that cause distress. Supporters of this method cite its ability to create balance and harmony.
  • Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) – MBSR utilizes the power of meditation combined with yoga exercises and includes the spiritual aspect of the Buddhist concept called mindfulness.[4] It involves mental focus on your present life and exercises that improve physical conditioning. You can use MBSR to help you conquer fears, irrational thoughts and doubts. You can apply it to your search for or rekindling of spirituality
  • Artistic Therapies – Emotional peace can be found through artistic expression that includes painting and arts and crafts.[5]
  • Prayer – For many who have chronic pain, spirituality is a support system that helps them endure. When this becomes the case, praying brings peace and hope.  You can talk to your priest, minister or religious leader for counsel also. Petitionary prayer is common among those who experience much pain because it helps them cope. Some research indicates those who have higher religiousness and spirituality have higher levels of well-being and experience positive effects.[6]

Conclusion

When you have fibromyalgia, finding inner peace through spirituality can help you cope with the pain and other symptoms. Emotional management can be fostered through prayer, creative activities, meditation and a variety of activities that bring mental peace. Enjoying activities that bring spiritual peace can reduce feelings of distress, lower stress and serve as a reminder that fibromyalgia is just one aspect of your life

References 

[1] Anema, C; Johnson, M; Zeller, JM; Fogg, Louis; and Zetterlund, J (2009). “Spiritual Well-Being in Individuals with Fibromyalgia Syndrome: Relationships with Symptom Pattern Variability, Uncertainty, and Psychosocial Adaptation.” Research and Theory for Nursing Practice, 23(1): 8-22.

[2] Arthritis Foundation (2006). Good Living With Fibromyalgia. Atlanta, GA: Arthritis Foundation.

[3] Vallath, N (2010). “Perspectives on Yoga Inputs in the Management of Chronic Pain.” Indian J Palliative Care, 16(1): 1–7.

[4] Schmidt, S; Grossman, P; Schwarzer, B; Jena, S; Naumann, J; and Walach, H (2011). “Treating Fibromyalgia with Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction: Results from a 3-Armed Randomized Controlled Trial.” Pain, 152(2): 361-369.

[5] Duke Centre for Integrative Medicine (2006). The Duke Encyclopedia of New Medicine. London: Rodale.

[6] Moreira-Almeida, A; and Koenig, HG (201 “Religiousness and Spirituality in Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Patients.” Current Pain and Headache Reports, 12(5):327-332.

This article was originally published on July 11, 2012 and last revision and update of it was 9/7/2015