This April we focused heavily on the mind and how we can make sure we stay mentally fit. We also talked about some of the major challenges and provided you with some tips and tricks on avoiding any mental health pitfalls that are too often related to chronic pain conditions.
Understand the effects of (no) sleep on mental health
Sleep is important to all of us and a sleepless night is something everyone can relate to. Being cranky and irritable the next day is never fun, but did you know that those who suffer from chronic pain have it even worse?
Here are some of the side effects of sleep deprivation we noted in our post on the topic:
- A loss of two hours of sleep can have similar effects to alcohol intoxication
- Sleeplessness promotes negative thinking and emotional vulnerability
- Not getting enough sleep can cause serious heart problems
- Sleep deprivation can increase the desire for junk food
- Sleep loss can cause a vicious cycle of sleepless nights and chronic pain
- Insomnia can lower the effectiveness of your immune system
Better sleep will help with pain
No sleep can have some nasty repercussions, but in our article “How To Get Better Sleep For Pain Management,” we talk about how to avoid those issues. 50 – 70 million people in the U.S. have chronic sleep problems, but even if you don’t, these tips can make sure you won’t become one of them!
- Develop a sleep schedule
- Control your sleep environment
- Be mindful of lighting
- Analyze your diet
- Kick the drugs and try cognitive behavioral therapy
- Get up and exercise
Super cool technology – research on video games, cell phones, and much more!
In our recent post “How Is Technology Affecting Our Mental Health?”, we delved into the pros and cons of technology on our mental health. The article showcased how the arena of mental health is being improved by technology like Facebook and machine learning, as well as some of the unique challenges they create.
Also, don’t forget to amp up your mental fitness this month by playing some video games. While the gaming industry has received a bad rap occasionally, there are some excellent perks to playing. These effects range from helping develop children’s abilities in the social sphere and motor skills to relieving stress and depression in game players. There are some negative effects that can mirror addiction, but these cases are rare and most certainly not the norm.
Do you know where your cell phone is? If you experienced a brief moment of panic while locating it, you might have nomophobia. In the post “Is Cell Phone Addiction Real (And Is It Causing You Pain)?”, we take a look at the consequences of constant cell phone use from the mental anguish to the very real physical problems that can manifest. We close out by sharing some tricks for preventing cell-phone related pain, like working on your posture, stretching more, and ditching the phone for a while.
The journey towards better mental health also touched on some concerning and pervasive mental issues such as anxiety disorders. Anxiety is quite common among pain patients so we always advise that you reach out for medical help if you have any of the following warning signs.
- If worrying is persistently interfering with your work, relationships, or quality of life in general
- If your fear and worries are upsetting and difficult to control
- If you have suicidal thoughts or behaviors
- If you battle with depression, alcohol or drug abuse, or have other mental health issues
Combating anxiety and rumination
Fighting anxiety is a life-long struggle, but there are lots of positive steps you can take to control your anxiety disorder. In our post, “Dealing With Anxiety – 10 Tips For Creating A Better You“, we go over some techniques that you can easily incorporate into your everyday routine. They can be as simple as counting to ten and remembering to laugh even when anxiety rears its head.
Rumination is a byproduct of anxiety that can lead to obsessively thinking about an idea without taking any positive steps to remedy the situation. It is an activity everyone should be mindful of, but it is quite common in pain patients as they can fall into the trap of constantly worrying about their health. We analyzed the problems and came up with some strategies to overcome rumination in our recent post “Stop Rumination In Its Tracks – Here’s How.”
Meditate the pain away
This month, we also found some new scientific research that shows some of the very real and beneficial effects that meditation can have on the body. Specifically, our post, “Meditation For Pain – Does It Work?” covers how a meditation routine can help suppress pain and improve overall mental health. We noted in our article:
“Chronic pain is a serious issue in the U.S. and according to the Institute of Medicine, approximately 100 million people in the U.S. suffer from some chronic pain condition. Meditation has the power to give these patients the ability to identify their pain and find some relief.”
The health of a chronic pain caregiver
A great post to end this month on was about how we need to make sure we care for our caregivers! We generally focus a lot on how to fight chronic pain, but unpaid caregivers who donate their time and energy are the unsung heroes and backbone of the health care industry in the United States. Caregiving can lead to some serious medical conditions if their dedication leads to ignoring their own needs, including depression, exhaustion, and heart disease just to name a few, so let’s make sure everyone stays healthy.
Out of all of these posts, which was your favorite this month?