Building Mental Health Resilience: Navigating Life with Arthritis

March 2024

Living with arthritis presents various physical challenges, but the toll it takes on mental health can be equally significant. Chronic pain, fatigue, and the unpredictability of symptoms can contribute to stress, anxiety, and depression in some people.

However, it is possible to build mental health resilience by empowering people to navigate the ups and downs of life with arthritis.

In this article, we'll explore strategies for building mental resilience and maintaining emotional wellbeing while living with arthritis.

Understanding Mental Health Challenges in Arthritis:

Living with arthritis can be emotionally taxing due to the chronic nature of the condition and its impact it can have on a person's daily life.

Some common mental health challenges experienced by people with arthritis include (and are not limited to):

#1. Stress and Anxiety: Managing the physical symptoms of arthritis, navigating treatment options, and coping with limitations in daily activities can lead to feelings of stress and anxiety.

#2. Depression: Chronic pain, fatigue, and the impact of arthritis on mobility and independence can contribute to feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and depression.

#3. Social Isolation: Arthritis can make it challenging to participate in social activities, leading to feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Strategies for Building Mental Health Resilience:

#1. Seek Support: 

Connect with others who understand what you're going through by joining one of our online arthritis support groups or speaking with one of our volunteer peer-mentors in our Arthritis Assist service - they also live with arthritis just like you. Sharing experiences and receiving support from peers can provide comfort and encouragement.

#2. Practice Self-Compassion:

Be kind to yourself and acknowledge the challenges you face. Treat yourself with the same compassion and understanding that you would offer to a friend in a similar situation.

For more information, read our free article on Arthritis and Mindfulness.

#3. Stay Active:

Engage in physical activities that are gentle on your joints, such as swimming, yoga, or tai chi. Regular exercise can help reduce pain, improve mood, and enhance overall wellbeing.

For more information, read our article on Exercising with Arthritis.

#4. Manage Stress:

Include stress-reducing practices into your daily routine, such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, or mindfulness. These techniques can help calm the mind, reduce anxiety, and improve resilience.

For more information, read our article Relaxation and Stress Reductions Techniques for Arthritis.

#5. Set Realistic Goals:

Break tasks into smaller, manageable steps and set realistic goals for yourself. Celebrate your achievements, no matter how small, and recognise your progress over time.

For more information, read our article on The Power of Pacing for Better Arthritis Management and our other article on Setting SMART Health Goals. 

#6. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle:

Try eating a balanced diet, getting plenty of restful sleep, and limiting alcohol and caffeine intake. Taking care of your physical health can positively impact your mental wellbeing.

For more information, read our article on Benefits of Healthy Eating for Arthritis Management.

#7. Stay Informed:

Educate yourself about arthritis, treatment options, and self-management strategies. Knowledge empowers you to make informed decisions about your health and advocate for yourself effectively. 

For more information, read our article on Making The Most of your Visit to a Doctor.

#8. Seek Professional Help:

If you're struggling with persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety, or hopelessness, don't hesitate to seek help from a mental health professional. Therapy, counseling, or speaking with a healthcare professional can be beneficial in managing your mental health. 

For more information, read our article on Support for Mental Wellbeing.

Living with arthritis presents unique challenges, but it's possible to build your mental health resilience and thrive despite the condition's impact.

By prioritising self-care, seeking support, and adopting coping strategies, people with arthritis can build resilience, manage their mental health effectively, and lead fulfilling lives.

Remember, you are not alone, and support is available to help you navigate the journey with resilience and strength.

If you are interested in learning more about the evidence of building mental health resilience, please do not forget to register for our upcoming webinar with guest speaker Dr. Judy Lovas on 28 May 2024 or watch the webinar recording.

How Arthritis Queensland can help


Talk with a peer-mentor in our free Arthritis Assist service.