Living with Chronic Pain
Worrying About a Loved One’s Health
Concern is a normal reaction when a loved one is dealing with chronic pain or diagnosed with a chronic illness. However, excessive worry can have a negative impact on physical and mental health, which can strain the relationship.
How to deal with worrying about a loved one’s health
It is important to learn to cope with concerns in a manner that is healthy and productive. Five ways to deal with worrying about a loved one’s health include the following:
- Consider whether the worry is productive. A productive concern includes a solution that can change the outcome of a situation; however, an unproductive worry will not change the end result. Individuals should resolve productive concerns and learn to let go of unproductive fret. For example, worrying that a loved one will not be able to participate in an important event due to chronic pain can be relieved by scheduling a wheelchair rental for the event or recruiting someone to livestream. An example of an unproductive worry is being anxious about the progression of a loved one’s illness within the next year. This is best managed by focusing on one day at a time and remembering that although the condition could get worse, it could also get better.
- Research the condition. Learning about a chronic illness can help remove the fear of the unknown. In addition to understanding what to expect, research may reveal available resources, such as support groups or clinical trials. However, individuals should always verify that the source of information is reliable. Asking the loved one about the condition will also provide knowledge.
- Talk to medical professionals together. When appropriate, going to a medical appointment with a loved one or participating in a phone call with a health care professional can help ease the worry. This also provides an opportunity to gain understanding and knowledge by asking questions.
- Practice self-care. Self-care can reduce stress and provide a distraction from worrying about a loved one’s health. Examples of self-care include practicing meditation, getting a massage, going for a walk, or participating in a favorite activity. Committing to regular self-care is essential for mental and physical health, especially when worrying about a loved one.
- Speak with a mental health professional. When worry becomes excessive, a counselor or therapist can provide needed help. Couples therapy, family therapy, or individual therapy is beneficial in learning how to cope with worry, while protecting mental well-being.
Additional source: Verywell Mind