7 Ways to Handle Your New RA Diagnosis

Being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis can send your emotions spinning out of control. Here’s how to stay calm and take hold of your condition.

Susan Amoruso

Find the funny. Adding a few guffaws to your day can benefit your health. Studies show that laughter and humor can fight stress and even promote positive thinking. What are you waiting for? Pop in your all-time favorite comedy!

Guarantee a good night’s sleep. With your mind in overdrive and anxiety levels at an all-time high, falling asleep may be challenging after your rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis. But you’re going to need your rest more than ever. Before bed, whip a bowl of oatmeal with sliced banana. It’s the perfect snack to help you snooze, as both of these foods contain the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin.

Watch for signs of depression. People with RA are twice as likely to become depressed compared with those without the condition. Researchers have found that exercise can often be just as effective as medication in managing depression.

Next time you’re feeling down, go for a walk—it’s also a great way to reduce inflammation and joint stiffness. And of course speak with your doctor if you’re experiencing any signs of depression, including feeling sad or helpless or having difficulty concentrating, sleeping or eating.

April 2013