7 Ways to Defeat Adultitis Amidst Chronic Pain

One of our most frequently asked questions is this: “Living an Adultitis-free life is great in theory, but what about people who live with pain? How are you to stay young when health issues prevent you from enjoying life and having normal fun?”

I got a chance to receive expert advice on this very topic from a man that has endured pain for the last 40 years, living with severe Rheumatoid Arthritis. I may be biased, but I would argue that he is as Adultitis-free as they come and he has played a hugenormous role in making me into the Adultitis-fighting agent I am today. He is… my dad!

Inspired by our conversation, here are 7 ways to defeat Adultitis amidst chronic pain…

1. Surround yourself with silliness. Fill your life with reasons to laugh. My dad’s favorites are Abbott and Costello, The Three Stooges, and The Carol Burnett Show, but you can find your own sources easily by thinking about what makes you laugh out loud. We all know the healing power of laughter and even if your pain is not lessened physically, distracting your mind will help your spirit immensely.

2. Hone in on a hobby. Recalling a close friend who dealt with back pain for years, my dad shared that he found relief from the stress of pain by focussing on projects, in his case making rosaries for a mission and getting good deals on the home shopping network. Find a distraction from the pain, something you enjoy that will help you keep your mind from focussing on your pain.

3. Count your blessings. “It could always be worse.” This being said from my dad, a man who has had a much more challenging deck to play with most of his life. “If you look around you can see how blessed you really are. There is always someone worse off than yourself. You could be a starving kid in a third-world country.” Enough said.

4. Look ahead with excitement. Set a goal of something to look forward to, especially in times of recovery. Maybe it’s a trip to a destination you’ve been wanting to visit or a special visit from a relative. If it’s on the calendar, then it’s a focal point for anticipation, which is a very joyful way to spend the time in your head… dreaming, wishing, and looking forward to something awesome.

5. Pamper yourself daily. My dad spoke of guy at a former job site who had quit smoking. He decided to join his friends during their smoke break with a full-sized Snicker bar in hand — everyday. If you can find joy and a temporary relief from a guilty pleasure like a not-so-small Snicker bar, a bubble bath, or maybe even a favorite TV show, then make it happen. No guilt. It’s a small gift to yourself each day.

6. Grin and bear it. When it all comes down to it you just have to try, with every ounce of your being, to do the best you can amidst your circumstances. It’s up to you whether you choose to sulk and become depressed, or if you try to make the best of your reality. It’s easier said than done, for sure… but your attitude is a major player in the game of Adultitis-free living.

7. Pray. A simple concept, yet it yields the most powerful results. In all honesty, this was my dad’s first and most important tip.

What about you? Feel free to share any ideas you may have for defeating Adultitis amidst chronic pain in the comments.

Photo credit: Frank Jacoby


  1. MCC113 says:

    Thank you so much for this post. It hits home very hard bc I’m a 26yrs dealing with chronic pain daily and I have decades ahead of me. For you to acknowledge those of us that don’t live normal lives and suffer through CP it meant the world! Our goal of breaking through adultitis is hampered by our CP but we have hope and your post is refreshing! Good luck to your father! Thanks!

  2. We had the pleasure of spending a week with Gary and his wife Joyce this past January, 2011 in chilly Florida. For me it was a lesson in humility.
    Point by point here is my take on your post, Kim.
    1. Gary has a disguised sense of humor. You have to become a student of Gary to understand his humor.
    2.There are limits to the hobbies that Gary can chose. Most of us have no limits.
    3. Appreciate what you have and what you can do, see #2.
    4.Cherish the journey, you may never cross the finish line.
    5.Be a friend to yourself. Then being a friend to everyone else will be a breeze.
    6.I don’t do well with this one. I do a fair amount of woodworking and even a tiny silver in the end of my finger is a BIG deal for me.
    7.Pray= help from the BIG guy.

  3. Minette says:

    Prayer is always something that helps for me – especially during times of particularly intense pain. However, as a Catholic, I have several crucifixes that I have in various places around my house. Every time I think I can’t POSSIBLY bear this any longer, I’ll look at this crucifix, and boy if that doesn’t put me in my place. Jesus went through unspeakable agony especially for us – BECAUSE of us. When I put it in perspective like that, it doesn’t completely take the pain away but it certainly helps.

    Thanks for a great post!

  4. This is not just advice for living with pain… it is advice for living.

  5. Minette, I hadn’t thought of that reason for having a crucifix. I’m not Catholic, but I love the Lord… I have never owned a crucifix (although I wear a cross), but you make a good point for getting one. Maybe if I just look at my cross more…

    Kim, great article! Thanks for the tips.

  6. I love your blog and this post. I do have some chronic pain due to arthritis, although I do my best to ignore it most of the time, and yoga, lots of walking and prayer help a lot, as well as good friends. My next door neighbor was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer 2 years ago, and they gave her a 15% chance of survival and took out 11 lymph nodes; but she is free and clear so far with no signs of recurrence. Her mother just died 3 weeks ago of leukemia, but my friend is the most positive person I know. She is celebrating a hummingbird that has made a nest by her back window. She tells me every day that happiness is a choice. Even in the midst of her hardest trials, she acknowledges every feeling with childlike candor, gets through it and then does something to take care of someone else (often me). Choose happiness, get some exercise, look out for someone else. Sorry to ramble, but you got me feeling positive. Thanks for the post and this wonderful blog. I will definitely be tuning in for more.

  7. I especially agree with Silliness and Pampering when one is stuck on the sofa in pain and unable to move. I spent one summer there, not knowing if and when the pain would let up. 3 particular things helped.First, I had the windows opened so I could concentrate on the rustling of tree leaves, and the joyous sound of children playing outside. Second, I visualized myself doing things that I wanted to do. Third, I forced myself to pay attention to the movie my son was watching, “Eraser”. The most hilarious thing to me was the fake seisure with fizzy tablets and the use of voltage from a defribulator in a crazy hospital scene. My son loved the fact that I almost rolled on the floor laughing. He kept hitting the rewind button to see me laugh again. It just struck me so funny, since I had just been released from the hospital. This looks like a great website!

  8. Livyzmom says:

    Thank you for posting this I am a 35yr old mother who has had JRA and now polyarticular RA. I have 2 children ages 3 and 8. It is very difficult to do alot of the things a “normal” mother would do with my children. I also abide by some of these things. My own personal pampering is enjoying time at the Salon to get my hair done..and an occasional pedicure:) We enjoy lots of family nights at our house with our friends where we open our house,everyone brings their own drinks,a snack to pass and the kids get to play & nice cheap night for mom and dad !!!

  9. He would never throw another shutout.

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