Here’s my first in a series of Questions and Answers for Fibromyalgia Awareness Month dealing with uncertainty. The world of COVID-19 is different from any we’ve ever experienced. There’s a film of fear, frustration, anxiety, and doubt that encapsulates all that we see, hear, do, and think. For those with fibromyalgia and chronic illness, there are a lot of unanswered questions, for sure.
Today I’ll answer one of them.
Fibromyalgia Questions and Answers
I recently shared a post asking for YOU to share your fibromyalgia and chronic illness questions with me. You can read that post and share your own questions HERE.
One of the responses I received included a COVID-related topic I thought was perfect for today’s news.
Here’s Renee’s insightful question:
How do you manage the chronic fatigue and insomnia especially with everything that’s going on now? I work in the medical field and sometimes it’s hard to relax after working long hours.
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Fibromyalgia Q and A – Uncertainty
This is such an excellent question! And my heart and gratitude goes out to all who work so diligently for the care of others.
I’m going to break down this question into chunks and I’m willing to bet my response will be unexpected. Because this post quickly became much longer than anticipated, I’m going to break it into a series of 2 parts.
Here’s part 1 which shares the foundational answer to this pertinent question.
Q and A Part 1
The first chunk is about why things are more unsettling right now. During this pandemic, words such as unprecedented, unknown, unidentified, and indefinite strike a chord with us. That resonance has both a physical and emotional response. We’re simply human and by nature, we like to plan. Planning helps to make us feel safe. We like to feel safe.
And, what we’re dealing with now (especially the isolation of quarantine) feels the opposite of safe.
How can we feel secure in a world of uncertainty?
This is the main issue at hand. Fears and anxious thoughts have no resolve when the future is not only unknowable, it’s also largely unpredictable.
This is where having an understanding of how the brain works can be a lifesaver. We may not know what will happen a month or six months from now. But the important thing to consider is our focus. Our brain wants to focus on solving problems. That’s what brains do. So give it some help. Some problems are unknowable or unsolvable (even if it’s just for now). So, help it focus on things that ARE solvable.
Right now, the entire world has been focused on the emotions and feelings of uncertainty. It’s no wonder why symptoms such as over-drinking and over-eating are rearing their ugly heads. It’s also no wonder that domestic violence and social unrest are increasing.
The key here is FOCUS.
The world is focused on the feelings of uncertainty — that doesn’t have to be you! Now that I’ve pointed out that these feelings breed chaotic results, choose to place your focus elsewhere.
Uncertainty is the bottom-line topic in nearly all news reports. Turn it off. Instead, shift your focus to what we ARE certain of in life. We’re certain that the sun will rise tomorrow. We’re certain of the love we feel for others and of their love for us. We can feel certain about what things and activities bring us joy, pleasure, and a sense of satisfaction.
Become a ninja at seeking out things that make you feel certain. (Your body will say thank you.) Seek out thoughts, activities, and behaviors that help you to feel connected, passionate, grateful, and a surrounding sense of appreciation. This is a brain-training secret that will serve you for a lifetime.
Answers Next Week
This is a GREAT start.
Next week, I’ll address the topic of sleep and I’ll also take a deeper dive into a topic that I think you’ll find surprising.
Until then – shift your focus and look for what’s CERTAIN in your life!
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