Fibromyalgia: Strategies to Change the Brain

“One should sympathise with the colour , the beauty, the joy of life” , Oscar Wilde

Changing the neural pathways in the brain from ruminating about pain or various other symptoms of fibromyalgia can be achieved through various ways. I have tried two of the ‘hobbies’ that have helped me somewhat. One was sewing, (something I had never done before) by making quilts, mostly by hand! It was a difficult endeavour and costly! My hands would ache but the thrill of organizing colours and stitching them together brought me many hours of joy

The colours are what intrigued me and I searched diligently for bright fabric. I ended up making about 25 of them!

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After a few years however, I gave up on this new hobby and recently have discovered another (cheaper) way to absorb my unquiet and ever wandering/anxious mind through adult colouring books. This may sound trivial to many but I can assure you, dear readers it is an intriguing pastime. Luckily, I found the ones by Wendy Piersall as I am extremely fond of mandalas.

Here is my first ‘art’ work!

IMG_0646IMG_0648While it may seem childish to many, I can attest to the meditative aspect of colouring. Please do try it! This is one of several of Wendy Piersall’s books, time-consuming but relaxing. Now I know why those nuns made us colour within the lines! Mixing and matching colours gives me joy and often distracts me from my chronic pain!

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About Barbara Keddy

I am a Professor Emeritus, School of Nursing, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. My B.Sc.is in Nursing while my MA. and Ph.D. are in Sociology. I am married, a mother and grandmother living on the east coast of Canada. I have personally lived with fibromyalgia for about 40 years. I published a book with iUniverse in 2007. This book detailed living with this condition and allowed the voices of twenty women who have fibromyalgia to tell their stories.
This entry was posted in changing neural pathways in the brain, colouring, colours and chronic pain, Fibromyalgia, sewing and fibromyalgia, Wendy Piersall. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Fibromyalgia: Strategies to Change the Brain

  1. Donna says:

    I was very recently gifted a colouring book through a Bear Hugs gift box. I completely agree, there is something very therapeutic and relaxing about it. Plus I feel able to do it even on those bad days whereas normally those days mean I cannot do my other hobbies. I think colouring in is a fantastic thing to do on those days 🙂

  2. Dear Donna:
    I am happy you are also finding colouring to be therapeutic. Is it as popular in the UK as in Canada? For those of us with fibromyalgia it does not require physical strength and even if we are having bouts of fatigue it is easy to pick up our pencils or crayons! The idea of so many of us around different parts of the world doing what we did as children gives me a giggle:-). Keep on with this relaxing hobby!
    Barbara

  3. What a lovely blog post, thank you so very much! 🙂

  4. Happy you enjoyed it! Keep on producing them. Those of us needing to work with fibromyalgia can help our central nervous system by taking on an endeavour that is: new to us, creative and repetitive (among other strategies of course, like Mindfulness Meditation, yoga, Qigong, and other contemplative practices). Colouring fits the bill!
    Best wishes,
    Barbara

  5. Marie says:

    There is nothing at all childish about creating art. I too enjoy coloring and quilting. I like the soft pastel colors. I started something new back in May . WeightLifting. I was looking at how flabby my body was getting with the loss of muscle and decided enough was enough. If Im going to cry in pain while I get weaker , why not just cry in pain while I get stronger. And cry I did three days a week as I started weight training with 5 lb dumbbells. It is now month five and I am no longer crying but marveling at my awesome pectoral muscles and sculpted abs forming. Today I am up to 10 lb dumbbells each hand and doing overhead lifts and deadlifts. I simply cant believe it. I eat cherry lifesavers to trick my brain into feeling pleasure while I lift and it worked. I read a lot about neuroplasticity and decided to go for it. I still have fibromyalgia but it doesnt have me. When I finish my 6th month I am going to celebrate. Next summer Im going to wear a bikini LOL. Im so proud of myself for not letting the pain turn me into a whining crying blob on the couch. I was a whining crying blob on the weightbench though and it has paid off tremendously. I just cant believe it. I worked out at home untill recently cause I cried so much but I was able to join a gym a few weeks ago and not make a spectacle of myself. No more crying. Im sore today but a hot bath in epsom salt does wonders for me and a huge sigh as I sink down into the hot water. Pain for a good cause instead of pain for nothing. God Bless

  6. Dear Marie:
    Yours is an inspirational story. I learned at the Chronic Pain Clinic where I spent 4 weeks three morning a week recently that one must pace oneself.(Now, I already know that but have difficulty doing it!) It seems as though that is exactly what you have done. It isn’t easy, faced with daily struggles but not moving is even worse. Some of the advice: exercise at the time of day when one is the least tired for those of us with fibro it is usually between 10 and 3; pace yourself; take short breaks; stretch; take small steps. Above all, remember to breathe while exercising. If you can’t do any of these things, then walking is the very best to begin with!
    Best wishes to a fellow colourer!
    Barbara
    I also love a hot bath, both to begin my day and to end it!

  7. Grace McClave says:

    I do love to color, but a lot of times my hands are so swollen that I’m unable to hold a pen, much less a crayon. I prefer writing poems and novels, but again, my swollen fingers make it difficult.

  8. Dear Grace:
    I know what you mean by painful hands. It is so frustrating wanting to do even the ordinary things of living let alone creative endeavours.
    Hopefully by pacing yourself you can do a little of each every day, writing and colouring. I find it too tiring to be very creative on this website and have taken myself off Face Book. I do not use any of the other social media in order to preserve my energy. It has taken a long time but I am learning to PACE.
    Best wishes,
    Barbara

  9. Daniela Brida says:

    Nice blog, happy to have discoveted it now ? I have bern living with fibromyalgie for nearly 30 years. Happy greatings from Switzerland.

  10. Well, hello, Daniela from Switzerland. Welcome to the site. Thirty years living with fibromyalgia? Please let me know how you are doing. Is it worse as you age or better?
    Kind regards,
    Barbara

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