I know that there is quite a bit of suffering that comes with Autoimmune Disease. And with that suffering comes disappointment, frustration, anger. You’re feeling pain – in your body, in your heart, in your life. The thing is, suffering can also be a powerful transformer… if you allow it to. It causes us to take pause and consider our path. It can motivate us to change our decisions. Maybe it leads you to ask, Is this medication the right solution? Can I manage my pain in another way? What’s more, suffering asks us to become more compassionate to ourselves. It asks us to love ourselves no matter our circumstances. The truth is, it’s deep work to accept a disease. It’s profound work to become loving toward what ails us and, therefore, loving of ourselves. I do believe it can be done, though. Here are some suggestions that may help you take control, feel better and embrace where you are in your life: 1. Give yourself 30 minutes and go into the pain. Breathe it in. Relax your body, if you can. Let whatever comes up be there with you. Just focus on your breathing. See if you can manage this for 15-minute increments. 2. Go to bed two hours earlier than you normally do. Doing so can help regulate your cortisol. Your body needs a tremendous amount of metabolic energy to manage pain (of any kind), so while you’re in the thick of it, sleep often. 3. Consider a homeopathic remedy. Ignatia Amara can be wonderful for easing grief, anxiety, insomnia, headaches and hopelessness. Speak with a homeopath about an appropriate dose. 4. Let yourself be sad or upset. Say it out loud: "I give myself permission to be sad" or "It’s OK that I’m upset right now." This is a very important piece of suffering. When you are upset about your circumstances, it can make those around you feel uncomfortable. Don't let that deter you. When you acknowledge and face what ails you, it can help you see the possibilities ahead. 5. Write it down. Keep a journal or write a letter to your disease telling it how you really feel. Let it rip. Then burn the letter. 6. Change the scenery. Even if it’s a short trip to your favorite store or outdoor space, putting yourself elsewhere can help keep you moving physically and mentally. Don't over do it; you don’t want to overtire yourself, but little breaths of fresh air help. 7. Eat starchy carbohydrates. This will help manage cortisol! 8. Be sure you’re digesting your meals. Stress is a big contributor to low hydrochloric acid (HCI) production in the stomach. So consider talking to your health care practitioner to find a supplement that may assist with digestion, if you need one. 9. Choose tenderness. Be kind to yourself and others. Living with autoimmune disease can stir up a lot of emotions, especially when you’re constantly trying to be strong. Tap into your softer side and embrace your life’s victories and struggles. 10. Trust yourself. There is something pushing you forward – something that drives you. You may not even know exactly what it is, but it’s there. Trust yourself and the decisions you make. And when you’re having an especially hard day – a painful day that makes you question everything – trust that it will pass and you’ll continue to push forward. Learn more about the AIP diet on Jessica Flanigan’s book, The Loving Diet: Going Beyond Paleo into the Heart of What Ails You and find more delicious AIP recipes on The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook Want to read more? The Mortifying Way I Discovered my Autoimmune Disease Easy to Make Meals for Reducing Chronic Pain by a Fitness Star Who Did Gone Gluten-Free? A Dietitian Reveals 9 Essential Nutrients You May Be Missing An Open Letter To Anyone Who Asks “How Are You” to Someone with a Chronic Illness What’s the difference between Celiac Disease, Gluten Intolerance, and Wheat Allergies? A Registered Dietitian Explains Note: PLEASE consult with your doctor before making any changes to your diet or medications. The material on this site is provided for educational purposes only, and is not to be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.