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Reframing Arthritis: How to Shift Perspective and Challenge Your Beliefs

Woman looking through a lens to change her perspective
Reframe your perspective and challenge negative beliefs about arthritis to cultivate a growth mindset and thrive


Living with arthritis can bring about a whirlwind of emotions and challenges, but it doesn't have to define your outlook on life. As a mindset, wellbeing, and resilience coach with rheumatoid arthritis, I firmly believe that by reframing your perspective and challenging negative beliefs about arthritis, you can uncover newfound strength and opportunities for growth. In this article, we will explore the power of mindset and offer valuable strategies to help you navigate the journey with arthritis in a more positive and empowering way.

Recognising Negative Thought Patterns and Beliefs:

When faced with a life-changing diagnosis like arthritis, it's natural to encounter negative thought patterns and beliefs that cloud our perspective. Thoughts like "I can't do this," "My life will never be the same," or "I'm limited by my condition" can be all-consuming. The first step in reframing arthritis is to become aware of these thought patterns and beliefs that might be holding you back from living your best life.

Strategies for Reframing Challenges and Discovering Opportunities for Growth:

1. Practise Cognitive Reframing: Cognitive reframing involves challenging negative thoughts and replacing them with more constructive and empowering ones. When a negative thought arises, take a moment to question its validity. Ask yourself if there is evidence supporting or disproving the thought. For instance, if you think, "Arthritis has taken away all my hobbies," challenge that belief by considering activities you can still enjoy despite your condition. Reframe it into, "Arthritis may have changed my hobbies, but it opens the door to discovering new passions that accommodate my health needs."

2. Cultivate a Growth Mindset: Adopting a growth mindset can significantly impact how you approach challenges. Embrace the belief that you can learn and grow from adversity. View setbacks as opportunities to learn and improve rather than roadblocks. Recognise that progress may take time, but with determination and resilience, you can overcome obstacles. Embrace the idea that you are not limited by your diagnosis, but rather, you are capable of adapting and thriving.

Exercise: Identify and Challenge Negative Beliefs About Arthritis

1. Download my free worksheet, or take out your journal and write down any negative beliefs or thoughts you have about arthritis. Be honest and write without judgement.

2. For each negative belief, ask yourself the following questions:

- Is this belief based on facts or assumptions?

- What evidence do I have that supports or contradicts this belief?

- How has this belief influenced my actions and decisions?

- How would my life be different if I held a more empowering belief?

3. Reframe each negative belief into a more positive and empowering statement. For example:

- From "I'm limited by arthritis" to "Arthritis challenges me, but I can adapt and find creative ways to live a fulfilling life."

- From "My body is betraying me" to "My body is resilient, and I can support it with self-compassion and self-care."


Reframing arthritis and challenging negative beliefs is a powerful tool in cultivating a positive mindset and building resilience. By recognizing negative thought patterns, adopting a growth mindset, and practising cognitive reframing, you can shift your perspective and uncover the opportunities for growth within the challenges of arthritis. Empower yourself with a new outlook and embrace the possibilities that lie ahead on your journey to thriving with arthritis. Remember, your mindset has the potential to shape your experience, and with the right approach, you can create a life filled with positivity, strength, and resilience.


Author: Tamara Judge

Bio: Tamara is a positive psychology consultant, coach and the founder of Keystone Coaching. She is an accredited coach at Senior Practitioner Level with the EMCC, holds an MSc in Applied Positive Psychology & Coaching Psychology from the University of East London and is a qualified Mindfulness & Meditation Teacher.

She combines her expert knowledge in multidimensional positive psychology and coaching with her lived experience of rheumatoid arthritis to help professionals with chronic illness to thrive in their life and career. Tamara is passionate about raising the profile of wellbeing for professionals with autoimmune conditions and empowering individuals & leaders to support, actively engage in & value opportunities for self-care.

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