Key One: You have to experience the pain in order to work through it. Don't try to hide the physical and emotional hurt.

Key Two: Experience the pain and then let it go. Don't be afraid to express the hurt you feel. For many people, tears are a natural and needed expression of the inner pain.

Key Three: Learn to laugh, try to see humor in your situation, and to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. Basically, the same muscle systems are used in both laughing and crying. Both bring relief from tension.

Key Four: Keep the lines of communication open. Honest communication with your family, friends, co-workers, health professionals and others can relieve tension and keep you on course. It helps to know that someone understands how you're feeling and can help bear the load.

Key Five: While fellowship with loved ones is important, don't neglect your personal "self-time." Being alone can provide a personal perspective from which calm, wise judgements, opportunities for personal growth, and a new optimism about life can emerge.

Key Six: Don't hesitate to utilize your special support persons and to seek counseling for your special situation. Some problems are too big to work through on your own.

Key Seven: Take responsibility for yourself and realize that you DO play a role in your illness. Guidelines for taking an active part in managing your arthritis are provided in the Arthritis Self Help Course offered by many chapters.

Web page design by Bill Jackson, 1996.

Any comments? Send them to Bill Jackson at

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