Helping Others With Understanding Rheumatoid Arthritis


Communicate for Control

Know Your Audience

This is another situation where how you say something is as important as what you say. To have successful communication, you need to craft the style for the particular person. Your best friend, grandmother, niece and coworker all require the information presented in a uniquely individual way.

This also helps to keep your communication fresh as repeating the same information in the same way to numerous audiences will make the process stale.

Make Time

You do not need the ideal time, day or setting to have a conversation with someone in your life. You only need a place that is quiet and free from distractions.

Be sure to give the level of attention to them that you would like to receive. It may be easier to discuss important matters during a commercial, but it is probably not for the best. Shortcuts always lead to poor results.

I Statements

When done correctly, I statements, or I messages, allow you to give someone information in a clear, specific and direct way. This enables you to ask for some type of change while maintaining a sense of respect for them as well as for you.

Saying, “You need to change,” or “You’ll never understand what I’m going through,” will only cause the recipient of this information to take a defensive stance. Then, they are more likely to lash back against you and a conflict has arisen.

Avoiding a defensive state is huge because you may spend the rest of the conversation calming the other person down.

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Know Your Stuff

Now that you know how to get your message across, you can refocus on what you want to say. RA is a big issue to address, and even if you have been diligent about attending appointments and following doctors’ orders, you may not know much about RA or how it affects you.

Building your knowledge base makes whatever you say more convincing. Here’s how:

Know RA

When you had to do a presentation in school, the first step was gathering research. The same is true in this instance. Talk to people who have already been through or are going through RA. What have they experienced? What are they going through now? Understand their symptoms and familiarity with the condition.

Online support groups are a perfect source of this information. Discuss symptoms with your doctor to have an idea of what is clinically expected. Ask about and search for reliable written information. This will provide you some level of expertise on the subject. This expertise will carry weight in your conversations.

Know Yourself

Though there are themes and common groups of symptoms for people with RA, your individual experience will differ. Pay attention to yourself. Gain a familiarity regarding when your symptoms strike and what your triggers include. How are you feeling physically? How are you feeling mentally?

Do not discount the powerful impact of a physical condition on your mental health. Any kind of pain and fatigue are associated with increased depression and anxiety symptoms. Knowing what helps to reduce the symptoms is valuable as well. Experiment with different remedies to find success.

Next page: starting the conversation.

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