Can clothing, one’s wardrobe, really make a difference for those living with Chronic Pain?
If merely getting dressed in the morning is a stressful event due to pain, you just might want to consider the trend of minimalism, specifically adopting a minimalist approach to fashion and dressing.
Not only is it a simpler approach to the actual physical aspect of getting dressed, it also just may help you to live better with your pain, physically, mentally and psychologically.
Many seemingly simple movements can trigger pain….something as basic as tying your shoes can become impossible or risky business, as who knows if that motion will once again cause a pain flare. Body movements of all kinds can become problematic and that of course will impact our clothing choices. Many physical conditions that accompany Chronic Pain can also have a serious impact on how we move and therefore how we dress, like fibromyalgia or arthritis-related conditions for example.
And too, there is the added aspect that everyone who’s ever been sick knows: When you don’t feel good you sure as heck aren’t too concerned with what you look like or what you’re wearing. But research shows, that even though it may be a challenge to put forth the effort to look your best, there are real health benefits to doing so.
The Health Benefits of Our Clothing and Appearance
Clothing has been shown to effect our cognitive processes. In other words, what clothing we choose to wear effects our minds, our perceptions, attitudes and thinking, according to Dr. Adam D. Galinsky, a professor at Columbia University. In a relatively new branch of science known as embodied cognition, it has been demonstrated that we think with not only our minds but too, our bodies (a field that may one day have interesting ideas to offer those in the Chronic Pain field).
“Clothes invade the body and brain, putting the wearer into a different psychological state”, says Dr. Galinsky.
For those living in Chronic Pain, we know that the condition impacts all aspects of our health, body, mind and spirit. To learn to cope with pain and to better manage it we must learn to look at all aspects of our health.
“Get up, get dressed, and never give up each day…to feel more confident and strong, you must change out of the pajama pants and put on clothes that give you power,” states Lisa Stariha, a Health Coach from Washington.
How To Use the Minimalist Approach to Dressing to Make Dressing Easier and too, to Foster and Promote Our Well-Being
There are many articles around these days about how to live a more simple and de-cluttered lifestyle. Many see starting with your clothing and closet as a perfect place to start. For those living with pain it’s a cater-made lifestyle choice in and of itself. Having fewer items of clothing to chose from, and too those composed of what you love, feel good in and which work well together makes the whole getting dressed issue one less thing to think about or potentially getting stressed over. Looking and thereby feeling good, or at least a little better, becomes an ease.
Examples abound but primarily they consist of include paring your wardrobe and closet down to a few essential, well loved items, using the “capsule” approach to dressing (choosing a few key items to wear for each season of the year while storing away the other seasonal items) or using the Project 333 take on clothing (getting your closet down to 33 items in 3- months; a method of dressing started by a woman who is living with Multiple Sclerosis).
As you no doubt will, begin slowly, but in time, getting dressed just may become a real positive in your pain management program rather than simply one more hurdle. And with an eye towards the future…
“I’m pretty sure there’s more to life than being really, really ridiculously good looking. And I plan on finding out what that is.”
~ Ben Stiller