Posted in Blog posts, COVID-19, Educational, Fibromyalgia, Getting social, Guest Speaker, Sharing Circle, Social events, ZOOM

I went to a #Zoom meeting and this happened…

July 2020 is gone?!?
“Time flies like an arrow,
fruit flies like a banana.”
~Groucho Marx

UPCOMING ACTIVITIES/EVENTS:

We’re staying connected, we’re just doing it virtually instead of in person. We hope current members will keep in touch. Reach out. Stay connected.
Take part in our FREE online activities (you don’t even need to change out of your PJs,just relax, enjoy, eat, drink, be merry!).

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PLEASE register for any or all activities so we can send you the free Zoom link (you don’t need an account, we have one): Email: fmgroup.london@gmail.com ~ or darcyyada@gmail.com ~ or Tel: 519-453-3198 ~ Also, please read, enjoy, learn, share on Social Media —— Website: www.fibrolondongroup.ca You can always find us and share us (Fibromyalgia London Group) @fmlondongroup on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

Since the beginning of this historic pandemic, a lot of things have changed, especially with Fibromyalgia London Group,
but a lot has stayed the same.
Our commitment to our members.
Our commitment to staying connected.
Our commitment to being there for each other.
Our commitment to supporting ourselves by helping others.
None of that has changed.

Who loves the word, “FREE”? Then you’re gonna love this! Missing yard/garage sales? Need some stuff…for FREE??? Our new Facebook group page, “Free For the Taking/Giving” https://www.facebook.com/groups/550486615667745/ !!! Everything for FREE (love love love that word, Free) for the taking or giving!!! Many of us have been decluttering, readjusting, rethinking during lockdown so here’s chance to give your gently-loved and/or new items a new home! Here’s how it works: I post an item (or items) I wish to “Gift”/donate, then you type back you want it, then we Private Message (PM) and arrange a contactless pickup. Easy peasy lemony squeezy! AND/OR you post an item (or items) you wish to “gift”/donate and myself or someone else says, “Yahoo! I’d love that!” and arrange contactless pickup/delivery and so on and so and so on… You can even ask/offer services like but not limited to: picking up groceries/household items if you know the person has mobility or transportation issues; cooking/delivering meals/baking; helping teach computers, Zoom, social media, smartphones, streaming services, devices or any kind, etc.; cutting grass/gardening; picking up city garbage tags, or seriously, whatever – use your heart and your imagination! Check it out https://www.facebook.com/groups/550486615667745/

Both our group and Zoom have taken extra precautions so we won’t be Zoombombed (just FYI, I hear a lot of people calling it “hacking”, it’s not really hacking, it’s obnoxious people getting hold of a meeting’s info and jumping in, kind of like “photobombing”; it’s silly, rude, immature, yes, but we’re doing everything we can to avoid it) and to date, out of all our Zoom activities, and there have been dozens, we’ve had zero problems, with that.So join us.
It’s safe.
It’s fun.
It’s helpful.
It’s here, for you, from Fibromyalgia London Group, for FREE!!!!
And you don’t even have to leave your house!!! If you have any questions, please email me (Donna Parker) at: darcyyada@gmail.com – I’m here to help (or at least try).
We have sooooooo many activities,
there must be something that interests you!!!

While all these activities have been free we encourage those who have not YET signed up or renewed their FLG membership to do so now, please.It’s $20 (or more if you can/wish to further support our grassroots, volunteer-driven efforts)) goodwill donation per year/per person and a caregiver/support person!!! This includes everything (yes, everything) we offer – resources, support, help, as well as: any/all activities, meetings, guest speakers, events, well, everything!!!

Fibromyalgia London Group
(we also welcome anyone with CFS, ME, chronic pain and/or fatigue) is a extremely dedicated, active grassroots,
volunteer-driven chapter, always there for it’s members,
but we need help too…

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Help us help you!
Join our wonderful activities!!!
Join the group itself!!!

Others say they “get it”,
we actually “get it”.
Let’s be here for each other.

Thank you for your time, these having been trying times, let’s get through them together (apart but connected). Thanks again and hope this week treats you kindly. Stay Safe. Stay Home. Stay connected. Wash Your Hands. Stay in touch. And when in doubt, Zoom it out!!!

Posted in Blog posts, COVID-19, Educational, Fibromyalgia, Guest Speaker

A “Grounding Technique” to Decrease #Worry During These Uncertain Times

“A ‘grounding technique’ to decrease worry during these uncertain times” by guest blogger and Fibromyalgia London Group member, Dr. Rhonda Gilby, mother of two daughters with Fibromyalgia, and clinical psychologist for over 30 years, helping people cope with the various problems that they are experiencing. Rhonda has taught psychology courses at Western University (UWO) and its affiliates, worked with troubled children and provided psychological counselling to University students. Dr. Gilby recognizes that “it’s not always easy” and writes about how findings and ideas from the field of psychology can be applied to help everyone to cope better in their day-to-day lives.

Managing Uncertainty in Product Development - ProductCoalition.com

Life is full of uncertainty, and the current pandemic has only added to that uncertainty. We are unsure of what is going to happen. When will be out of this lockdown situation? Will there be enough tests, enough food? What will happen with our finances and the economy? Will I and my loved ones stay healthy? As human beings, we crave security. We want to feel safe and have a sense of control over our lives and well-being. Fear and uncertainty can leave us feeling stressed, anxious, and powerless.

Whereas most species are stressed by threats and dangers as they are occurring, our species can also be stressed by potential dangers that MAY lie in the future (but MAY NOT). We may go over the situation in our mind , imagining everything that might go wrong (catastrophizing), and worrying about how we might handle it. We begin to dwell in that future experience, which can interfere with what we our able to accomplish at the present time.

Imagine that someone comes to you, requesting some money from you. You ask them what the money’s for.  They tell you, it’s the interest you need to pay on a loan that you MAY take out in the future. You tell them that you haven’t borrowed any money from them. But you might, they say, you could owe me money in the future.  Would you pay them the interest?

It’s very similar with worry. Worry is the interest you pay in advance on a debt you may never owe. The thing that you’re worrying about may never happen. You’re wasting important mental energy on something that may never happen, when your energy would be better spent in preparing for what needs to be done now.

So what can you do so that you don’t worry as much. One helpful tip is to return your mind to the present.  That’s where you should be focused. Worry is, by definition, about the future, so placing your attention on the present is a powerful way to reduce your worries. One straightforward way to do this is called “grounding”.

Grounding brings you back to the here-and-now, helping you to let go of the worry, calm down and bring your focus to what’s happening right now. Grounding techniques often use the five senses—sound, touch, smell, taste, and sight—to immediately bring all your attention to the present moment. Hold a favourite object in your hand and notice all the details about it, blast your favourite song and really listen to it, massage your temples and notice how it feels, smell a perfume or lotion that you enjoy, taste a piece of chocolate slowly melting in your mouth. Through these actions, you are strongly engaging with the present.

5-4-3-2-1 Grounding Technique

Another commonly used grounding technique makes use of all five senses at the same time. It is called the 5-4-3-2-1 grounding technique. It starts with you sitting comfortably, closing your eyes and taking a couple of deep calming breaths (in slowly through your nose, hold, out slowly through your mouth, hold). Imagine letting your worry go. Now open your eyes and look around you.

5 senses

Find 5 things around you that you can see.

Notice 4 things that you can feel right now.

Listen for 3 things that you can hear.

Find 2 things that you can smell.

Notice 1 taste in your mouth (maybe put something in there to taste).

Then, finish with a deep breath.

By re-focusing on your body and what you’re physically feeling, you get out of your head and divert your mind away from anxious thoughts about the future.  Now that you are back to the present, you can focus on what it is that you need to be doing right now. Like any other skill, if you practice grounding techniques initially when you are calm, they will be more available to use when get caught up in your worries.

Take care, and don’t let your mind run away with worries during this difficult time.

Dr. Rhonda Gilby is the mother of two daughters with Fibromyalgia, and has been a clinical psychologist for over 30 years, helping people cope with the various problems that they are experiencing. She’s taught psychology courses at Western University and its affiliates, worked with troubled children and provided psychological counselling to University students. She recognizes that “it’s not always easy” and writes about how findings and ideas from the field of psychology can be applied to help everyone to cope better in their day-to-day lives. Contact/Connect: ngilby@rogers.com

Posted in Blog posts, COVID-19, Educational, Fibromyalgia

Some Tips for Coping During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Some Tips for Coping During the Covid-19 Pandemic” by guest blogger and Fibromyalgia London Group member, Dr. Rhonda Gilby, mother of two daughters with Fibromyalgia, and clinical psychologist for over 30 years, helping people cope with the various problems that they are experiencing. Rhonda has taught psychology courses at Western University (UWO) and its affiliates, worked with troubled children and provided psychological counselling to University students. Dr. Gilby recognizes that “it’s not always easy” and writes about how findings and ideas from the field of psychology can be applied to help everyone to cope better in their day-to-day lives.

To say that these are unprecedented times is an understatement!  Living through a pandemic is something that very few people today have any experience with, and facing a crisis of this magnitude with little knowledge or understanding of what is required of us undoubtedly can lead to many difficult feelings – fear, sadness, anxiety, exhaustion. These kinds of painful emotions are natural at a time like this. It’s important that you give yourself permission to be human! We are all feeling unsettled under the present circumstances. That’s normal. Be kind to yourself.

Many of us are feeling worried. Worry is not necessarily a bad thing, if it leads you to engage in activities that help keep you safe. But worrying about things that are out of your control only forces your mind to dwell on difficulties, leaving you feeling overwhelmed and wasting your valuable emotional energy. For things that are outside of your control, worry is not going to make a difference or solve any problems. Figure out how to let those worries go.

Instead, realistically focus on those things that you can do to keep yourself and your loved ones safe and healthy – and there are many. Wash your hands frequently, stay home as much as possible, maintain appropriate physical distancing when out, and wear a mask. Stay connected with others remotely (the Fibromyalgia London Group is doing an excellent job of creating opportunities for staying in touch with other people and providing occasions for social interaction). Make sure that you are getting both physical and mental exercise. Fill your days with lots of activities that you enjoy. Add structure into your day – perhaps you want to maintain a regular wake up time and bedtime or add some rituals to your day (e.g. a specific morning routine, a definite time for reading or exercising, etc.). Limit the amount of news that you are exposing yourself to and make sure that you are only using reputable news sources.                                                  

We don’t have to be at the mercy of our negative feelings. There are many things that we can do to lessen painful emotions and cope more comfortably as we all progress through this difficult pandemic journey.   

I’m a clinical psychologist. One type of therapy that frequently makes a lot of sense to me is cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT). Cognitive behaviour therapy is based on the idea that our thoughts and beliefs about a situation affect how we feel about it, and what we subsequently do about it. This means that the same event can produce very different reactions in different people, depending upon how they think about and interpret the experience. When thoughts about a situation change, emotions can change, too.  Even a small shift in the way that you think about a situation can have a big impact on how you feel.   

We all talk to ourselves, sometimes out loud, most often in our heads, and that’s perfectly natural. In fact, self-talk can help us to understand and organize our experiences, to plan, to learn, to think through problems to find a solution. But it’s important to pay attention to what it is that we are saying to ourselves. Not all of the conversations we have with ourselves are helpful. While positive self-talk can increase our confidence and positive mood, when self-talk is negative, it becomes unhelpful, and can have a very negative impact on how we feel.

A number of unhelpful thinking styles (also referred to as cognitive distortions) have been identified by psychiatrists and psychologists. One common, unhelpful thinking style that has been identified is called “catastrophizing”. Catastrophizing refers to worrying about and imagining worst case outcomes of situations, expecting terrible consequences, and believing that you won’t be able to cope.

Letting your thoughts spiral out of control like this is not helpful. Replacing these negative thoughts with more realistic, more reasonable thoughts is a much better way to live.  So, how do you do that?

Start by paying attention to what you are saying to yourself. Often, we are unaware of our thoughts. Figure out “What am I thinking right now?, What am I saying to myself that is upsetting me? What bad thing do I expect to happen?”

Remember that catastrophic thinking is just your guess (usually wrong) about what will happen, and not a certainty. Negative thoughts, beliefs and expectations are not facts, and are often not accurate.

Remember that there is a difference between possibility and probability. For example, yes, it is possible that you or your loved one may become ill with the coronavirus, but the probability is quite low. Don’t upset yourself worrying about things that probably won’t happen.

Evaluate the evidence for and against your thought. Just because you think it, doesn’t mean it’s true. “How likely is it that this will happen?”.  “What’s most likely to happen?”. “Is there another way of looking at this, one that won’t leave me feeling as stressed?”. Use logical thinking. Try to find facts, as opposed to relying on guesses and exaggerated beliefs.  Perhaps voicing your fears to someone you trust will help you to gain a more realistic perspective.

Look for more realistic ways to think about the outcome of the situation you’re in – something less extreme, something that is more likely to happen.  Outcomes in life typically fall somewhere in the middle – not black or white, but shades of gray. Ask yourself “Is there another, more realistic thought that I can have that is a more likely outcome and won’t make me feel so upset.”.  For example, instead of thinking, “This is terrible – this will never end, things will never be normal again, I can’t stand it anymore”, a less extreme thought might be, “These are difficult times and the world may never quite be the same, but this will end and I will cope with whatever is to come, just as I have with all of the things that life has thrown at me in the past.”.

Coronavirus/COVID-19 illness is certainly serious and it is appropriate and necessary to take it seriously. But catastrophizing does not help us to cope. Be on the lookout for self-talk that involves catastrophizing, and challenge this unhelpful self-talk when it occurs.  It may take practice and time because catastrophizing can be a habit for some. You can choose to work on a more positive, more realistic and less stress-inducing way to talk to yourself.

Dr. Rhonda Gilby is the mother of two daughters with Fibromyalgia, and has been a clinical psychologist for over 30 years, helping people cope with the various problems that they are experiencing. She’s taught psychology courses at Western University and its affiliates, worked with troubled children and provided psychological counselling to University students. She recognizes that “it’s not always easy” and writes about how findings and ideas from the field of psychology can be applied to help everyone to cope better in their day-to-day lives. Contact/Connect: ngilby@rogers.com

Posted in Blog posts, COVID-19, Educational, Fibromyalgia, Getting social, Social events

KNIT Happens! on #ZOOM

NEW!!! Join members of the Fibromyalgia London Group (and others with chronic illnesses) on Zoom for the Knit Happens!

Dress Code: Quarantine Fashion (Sissy that Zoom!) – Daytime PJs, Loungers, plaid shirts and sweats are also welcome. Hair? Who even cares? Make-up? What’s up with that? We’re chronically fabulous.

What is ZOOM?  Zoom is free for participants, you don’t even have to have a Zoom account, only the people HOLDING the virtual meetings need an account (free or paid), not you as a participant, you don’t need to sign in to be part of the meeting, you just need to follow the link the host sends you. Zoom is a cloud based service which offers organizations and groups of 3 or more people to meet virtually by using its video conferencing capability. Again, it is a FREE app (application) you download onto your: tablet, iPAD, laptop, smartphone/iPhone, or any desktop computer. Again, there is no need for you to have a Zoom account to attend a Zoom meeting, as a participant, you just click on the link the host of the chat sends you and ZOOM, you’re in the virtual meeting ROOM! The person/organization holding the meeting will send you a link you can follow and you will be there in the meeting room, virtually so you can #StaySafe #StayAtHome, (and/or the Meeting ID and password). It’s really easy and user-friendly. You can use video or not, your choice. Same goes for audio, you can “Mute” or “Unmute” (just remember “Mute” is on when you arrive in the chat, just in case…), or you can just listen. You can also enter or leave the chat at any time. You can also type information or comments in the chat area. Seriously, it’s that simple and that fun!

All three levels of Canadian government continue their efforts to contain COVID-19 and “flatten the curve”/“plank the curve” – all Canadians are required to continue practicing self-isolation, by staying at home (only going out for necessities, think about that word, look it up in a dictionary, what is “needed”, not visiting, not for Easter, not to babysit, not to gather in crowds including standing in line at Costco, seriously. If you’re displaying any symptoms: dry cough, fever, shortness of breath, loss of smell and/or taste, unusual headaches, hallucinations, malaise, etc. stay at home or go to see a doctor, don’t drop by Walmart and/or Tim Horton’s drive-thru and/or KFC and/or Loblaws while you’re on your way to the doctor or on the way back from the doctor – they are working in dangerous conditions with a highly contagious illness so you can be well, don’t be selfish; #StayHome or see a doctor. If you have returned from traveling, #StayHome for 14 days, even if you have no symptoms, remember, asymptomatic people can spread the virus. And of course, #WashYourHands frequently!!! #StayHomeSaveLives #StaySafe #StayAtHome ) Peer Leaders of FLG agreed this is a fantastic time for our Group to use, ZOOM, a popular communication tool as an alternative way to connect with our members and potential members and be available to those seeking advice, emotional support, education and resource information on living with Fibromyalgia and/or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (or any chronic illness). So far it has been amazing. We’ve had several online meetings/activities and have found we can stay in touch at a safe physical distance (online and in the real world remember, it’s not a shopping cart length away, it’s 2 or more metres or 6.5 or more feet apart; also remember wearing a mask doesn’t protect you, it protects others from you).

During these unprecedented times, yes, we’re going to self-isolate, we’re going to #StayHome to Save Lives from the Coronavirus (COVID-19), but we’re still going to be here to support each other during this Quarantine. We’re pleased to announce that FLG will host ZOOM VIRTUAL meetings in the month of April as follows:

Thursday (if you know what day it is, I think today is Wednesday?!?), April 9th, 1pm (Eastern Time)  – Knit Happens! now on Zoom but still with the amazing Janice Sumpton as our knitting guru (thank you Janice!). REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN! Please email Jacqueline fmgroup.london@gmail.com if you wish to participate so we can send you a link to the meeting. 

But wait, there’s more! Thursday April 16th, 11am (Eastern Time) – Sharing Circle for those w/ chronic pain, chronic fatigue, chronic illness, really just chronic suckage https://fibrolondongroup.ca/2019/12/06/chronic-suckage/.

Mon, April 20th, 1pm (Eastern Time) – Brown Bag Chat Club (B2C2) where we discuss, in a fun, informal, light-hearted way (no pressure, no judgement) anything and everything: self-care, books, ebooks, e-audio, TV, movies, streaming, crafts, hobbies, music, fashion (even Quarantine fashion, I see you rocking those sweats!), coping techniques and mechanisms, stress relievers, ways to relieve pain, yoga, Tai Chi, meditation, dancing, singing, exercise, card games, board games, video games, cooking, baking, de-cluttering, gardening, sewing, knitting, art, writing, blogging, cleaning, chocolate…

Thursday, April 23rd, 1pm (Eastern Time) – Knit Happens!

Monday, April 27th, 1pm (Eastern Time) – Brown Bag Chat Club (B2C2)

Thursday, April 30th, 1pm (Eastern Time) – Knit Happens!

PLEASE NOTE: All our VIRTUAL activities/meetings are FREE (yes, that’s an actual thing!) and OPEN TO ALL members and their guests, as well as visitors, regardless of where you live in Canada…join us! Here’s how! ADVANCE REGISTRATION is required to participate in all VIRTUAL meetings.  Just send an email to fmgroup.london@gmail.com to confirm your interest in participating.  You’ll then receive an email with instructions on how to join the meeting, just click on the link in the email and whoosh, you’ll be right in the meeting room, no need to have a Zoom account, no need to pay, we’ll send you the link (meeting ID and password).
WATCH FOR EMAIL ANNOUNCEMENTS, from Donna or Jacqueline, on when registration for each virtual meeting is open.

Also, don’t forget about our essential workers!!! Seriously folks, what would we do without: doctors, nurses, grocery store workers, pharmacists, radiologists, porters, clerks, truck drivers, farmers, plumbers, restaurant staff, electricians, hydro workers, payroll clerks, government workers, police officers, firefighters, energy workers, maintenance, social services, research, agriculture, food production, manufacturing and Telecommunications and IT infrastructure/service providers (you want to see panic, let the internet go down!!!) and so many more! We care! We’re Thankful! You have our gratitude! They’re putting their life on the line so we can stay home and “flatten the curve”/”plank the curve” so as not to overwhelm our healthcare system. Here’s what you can do to say “Thank You” here in London and everywhere!!! https://fibrolondongroup.ca/2020/03/27/even-covid19-cant-beat-our-ldnont-spirit/ #StayHomeSavesLives #WashYourHands

Don’t Forget (so easy with Fibrofog, I know), join us this Thursday, April 9th, 1pm (Eastern Time) – Knit Happens! – REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN! Please email Jacqueline at: fmgroup.london@gmail.com if you wish to participate so we can send you a link to the meeting.

Can’t wait to chat with you soon! #StaySafe #StayHome Spread the love not the virus!!!

Posted in Educational, Fibromyalgia, Getting social, Social events

At My Knit’s End

Ever had one of those days where you feel like you’re at your wit’s end? Remember, Alice had to fall down a pretty deep rabbit hole before she ended up in Wonderland.

How about we help you turn your wit’s end into your knit’s end with a free knitting program (seriously, free program, free parking – all are welcome!)…because as we all know, Knit Happens!

Knit Happens!!! Free, you, you heard right, Free Therapeutic Knitting Activity Group for all!!! Join us in Study Room A – Jalna Branch (1119 Jalna Blvd. across from White Oaks Mall) of the London Public Library, as of March 5th, 2020 between 1-3pm. Free Parking and on LTC bus routes #4, #93 Express and at White Oaks, #90, #10, #13. Check LTC http://www.londontransit.ca/ for more info. City of London also has an income-related bus pass subsidy http://www.london.ca/residents/social-services/discretionary-benefits/Pages/Subsidized-Transit.aspx Please remember, Fibromyalgia London Group events are scent-free – what you think smells good could make someone else uncomfortable or ill. Whether you’re a long-time knitter or a newbie or somewhere in between, members and non-members (open to the public) of Fibromyalgia London Group, all are welcome! Janice Sumpton, our wonderful instructor is there to help or just share some time together. Bi-weekly – March 5th, 2020 1pm-3pm; March 19th, 2020 1-3pm; April 2nd, 2020 1-3pm.

Knit Happens Therapuetic Knitting program brought to you by London Public Library and Fibromyalgia London Group (FLG).
Come one and all, because we all know, Knit Happens!

Posted in Educational, Fibromyalgia

IT’S NOT ALWAYS EASY: COPING TIPS FROM PSYCHOLOGY – Which Wolf Are You Feeding?

“Which wolf are you feeding?” By guest blogger and Fibromyalgia London Group member, Dr. Rhonda Gilby, mother of two daughters with Fibromyalgia, and clinical psychologist for over 30 years, helping people cope with the various problems that they are experiencing. Rhonda has taught psychology courses at Western University (UWO) and its affiliates, worked with troubled children and provided psychological counselling to University students. Dr. Gilby recognizes that “it’s not always easy” and writes about how findings and ideas from the field of psychology can be applied to help everyone to cope better in their day-to-day lives.

“Which wolf are you feeding?”

Most people occasionally have thoughts that are unpleasant, worrisome or critical, and those with Fibromyalgia are certainly no exception, quite possibly experiencing even more of these thoughts than others. These thoughts, of course, make us feel bad. When such thoughts occur, despite knowing that they are not helpful, we may feel powerless to control them. There is a conflict between how those thoughts make us feel, and how we would like to be feeling.

This conflict is well-represented in the fable about two wolves. Although there is some question about the origins of this tale, it frequently has been referred to as a Native American legend. One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all. One is negativity, it’s anger, sadness, stress, contempt, disgust, fear, embarrassment, guilt, shame and hate. The other is positivity. It’s joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, awe, and above all, love.”
The little boy thought about it for a while and asked his grandfather, ”Well which wolf wins?” And the grandfather answered, “The one you feed.”

The parable is really about where we focus our attention. It seems that, in general, people tend to spend more time focusing on negative experiences in life than focusing on what is good. In psychology, this is referred to as the “negativity bias”. It is considered to have evolved for a good reason—to keep us out of harm’s way. In our evolutionary past, our survival depended a lot more on our ability to recognize danger than on our ability to notice the positive. Not noticing a lion waiting in the grass could end your life. Not noticing a field of ripe, wild fruit that you are passing may just leave you hungry for a while longer.
According to clinical psychologist, Rick Hanson, negative stimuli produce more activity in the brain than do equally intense positive stimuli. We have become wired to pay more attention to negative information, and we perceive it more easily and more quickly. Apparently, the brain is good at learning from bad experiences but bad at learning from good experiences. So, many of our good experiences may feel good in the moment, without having any lasting value. “The brain is like Velcro for negative experiences and Teflon for positives ones.”

Nowadays, having a constant negativity bias is no longer necessary for our survival, and, in fact, increases our stress levels and makes it more difficult for us to cope. Can we train our brains for more positivity? Can we start feeding the more positive wolf? Do we get a choice? According to the most recent neuroscientific evidence, the answer is “YES”. According to Hanson, who calls this “taking in the good”, there are things that we can do to begin to feed the good wolf. Hanson recommends the following three steps to overcome negativity bias:

  1. Look for good facts, and turn them into good experiences. For example, let yourself feel good if you get something done, or if someone is nice to you, or if you notice a positive feature about yourself.
  2. Take time (at least 20 to 30 seconds) to pay attention and enjoy good experiences. Don’t just let a positive experience quickly pass. Making positive sensations last longer, solidifies them in our long-term memory.
  3. Focus on and let yourself sense the feelings of those good experiences as they are sinking into you. Imagine that positivity spreading through your body, like a warm glow spreading within you. While you hold the good experience in your awareness, it can become hard-wired into your brain.
    According to Hanson, “Any single time you do this will make only a little difference. But over time those little differences will add up, gradually weaving positive experiences into the fabric of your brain and your self.”

I know that this is certainly not a quick fix, and that looking for the good” is not going to be the remedy for all of our problems. In fact, changing our focus can be harder than it sounds, and making a change in the way we look at our world can take a lot of mental work. But I also know that we don’t have to be at the mercy of a built-in negativity bias that really doesn’t help us anymore. Although we may be struggling with those nasty symptoms that Fibromyalgia has thrown at us, it can be well worth the effort to work to find and focus on those good experiences (e.g., time with our loved ones, a caring FM community, a sunny day or a delicious meal, to name just a few) that are also a part of our lives.
So take care, have an awesome day, and remember to feed the good wolf!

Dr. Rhonda Gilby is the mother of two daughters with Fibromyalgia, and has been a clinical psychologist for over 30 years, helping people cope with the various problems that they are experiencing.  She has taught psychology courses at Western University and its affiliates, worked with troubled children and provided psychological counselling to University students.  She recognizes that “it’s not always easy” and writes about how findings and ideas from the field of psychology can be applied to help everyone to cope better in their day-to-day lives. Contact/Connect: ngilby@rogers.com

Posted in Blog posts, Educational, Fibromyalgia, Getting social, Guest Speaker, Sharing Circle, Social events

Happy New Year 2020! What’s Next?

Happy New Year! Hard to believe it’s already 2020 (no vision jokes). A new year (and a leap year at that), a new decade, but what’s next? Sometimes when we’re in a Fibro flare, stressed out, and/or having a rough time, it’s hard to think, what’s next? So make plans anyway, make choices, don’t let the world make them for you.

Here at Fibromyalgia London Group we understand, the holidays can add extra stress (https://fibrolondongroup.ca/2019/12/15/12-unusual-ways-to-relieve-your-holiday-stress/) and post-holiday exhaustion is real…and don’t even get me started on what winter does to Fibro.

So come out to some (or all – with a $20 membership per year every single event, program, sharing circle, everything is no extra charge to you and a registered caregiver/supporter/loved one) of our programs, events, sharing circles, etc. – relax, de-stress, learn about resources and ways to cope with pain, exhaustion, anxiety. Also, you’ll meet folks who know what you’re going through. We don’t just say we get it. We get it.

Please note: Fibromyalgia London Group (FM/CFS/chronic pain) Saturday Sharing Circle sessions in the North end, North London Optimist Centre will now be bi-monthly (every second month, 6 times per year). As well, the FM/CFS Caregivers’ Support Group, led and facilitated by Rick Avdovich. Caregivers, supporters, and loved ones of persons living with FM or CFS have their own support circle, held Bi-monthly (every 2nd month/ 6x/year) at the same time our FM/CFS/CRPS/ME Sharing Circle meets.

Thursday Sharing Circle sessions will continue MONTHLY. So just as a reminder, there’s NO Sharing Circle January 4th, but join us at the North London Optimist Centre January 11th, 2020 for an educational opportunity…

LIVE BLOOD MICROSCOPY Saturday, January 11, 2020; 1-3pm North London Optimist Community Centre.

And Thursday January 16th for a Support/Sharing Circle. Free parking and on several London Transit routes, ie. #10 – check out http://www.londontransit.ca/plan-a-trip/routes-schedules/ for more details. Also, the City of London has an income-related bus pass http://www.london.ca/residents/social-services/discretionary-benefits/Pages/Subsidized-Transit.aspx Whichever way you arrive, we want you to thrive!

Thursday support sessions are still monthly, in January 2020 it’s Thursday January 16th, 2020 11am-12:30pm (doors open at 10:30am and Peer Leaders will be there to answer questions, sign up members, share resources or just to listen) – Earl Nichols Recreation Centre 799 Homeview Rd. 11am-12:30pm. Free parking and on several London Transit routes, ie. #10 – check out http://www.londontransit.ca/plan-a-trip/routes-schedules/ for more details. Also, the City of London has an income-related bus pass http://www.london.ca/residents/social-services/discretionary-benefits/Pages/Subsidized-Transit.aspx Whichever way you arrive, we want you to thrive!

Knit Happens: Therapeutic Knitting for all! Bi-weekly knitting program, 3rd Floor Board room London Public Library Central Branch (accessible to all). Please remember all FLG events are scent-free please. Instructor Janice Sumpton shows how knitting can help with chronic pain, or everyday stress, because Knit Happens! All are welcome! Open not only to Fibromyalgia London Group members but to the general public. New to knitting or an expert, come to learn or just for the company! Free 2hr parking (validate at front desk of LPL with library card) and on several London Transit routes, ie. #4, 6, 13, 90, and more – check out http://www.londontransit.ca/plan-a-trip/routes-schedules/ for more details. Also, the City of London has an income-related bus pass http://www.london.ca/residents/social-services/discretionary-benefits/Pages/Subsidized-Transit.aspx Whichever way you arrive, we want you to thrive! January 9th 1pm-2:30pm – bring your needles and yarn – we’re going to have a ball!

Cards and Company Monday Afternoons! January 13th & 27th, 2020, 1pm-3pm!!! Free for Fibromyalgia London Group members and a supporter/caregiver but snacks are always welcome!!! Free parking and on several London Transit routes, ie. #4, 6, 90, 13, 15 and more – check out http://www.londontransit.ca/plan-a-trip/routes-schedules/ for more details. Also, the City of London has an income-related bus pass http://www.london.ca/residents/social-services/discretionary-benefits/Pages/Subsidized-Transit.aspx Whichever was you arrive, we want you to thrive! We’re playing with a full deck (honest)!

Please read and keep checking back, to the homepage, https://fibrolondongroup.ca/ changes all the time with upcoming events. To the right of that page, under “What We’ve Been Up To” are blog posts about events, Fibromyalgia and other stuff. Also, and very important, please share this homepage https://fibrolondongroup.ca/ for the London Fibromyalgia Group (FLG) with family, friends, colleagues, medical professionals, clubs, groups and on especially social media – you never know when you’re going to help someone. Then please, submit…

ORIGINAL content (written by you) blog posts, memes, quotes, ideas, recipes, lyrics, personal experiences, etc. to: iwanttobelieve@rogers.com (you can use your first name, full name, pseudonym, whatever you feel comfortable with, in the blogging world, anything goes…). Here are a few examples of ORIGINAL blog posts, but the whole point of original is you do you!!!

“Chronic Suckage”, “Is #Fibromyalgia Still a Four Letter Word?” and “12 Unusual Ways To Relieve HolidayStress” by Guest Blogger, D. Parker https://yadadarcyyada.com also a member of Fibromyalgia London Group and a Peer Leader.

Keep checking https://fibrolondongroup.ca for more and more details. Even if no one else understands, we do. New Year, new you or are you enough already and just need some help to live your best life? Don’t wait for help to come to you, come to us for help. Fibromyalgia London Group
Tel: 519-453-3198 ~

Email: fmgroup.london@gmail.com 

~ Website: www.fibrolondongroup.ca

Happy New Year and hope to see you soon!

Posted in Educational, Fibromyalgia, Getting social

To Knit or Not to Knit: Now That’s A Silly Question!!!

Fibromyalgia London Group (FLG) invites any member, support person, and/or member of the public to participate in a free (what a beautiful word) activity program, therapeutic knitting for those with pain and who want more purpose.

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Led by Janice Sumpton, Knitter Extraordinaire and Knitwear Designer with more than 50 years knitting experience. Living with chronic pain for more than 20 years, Janice found the rhythm and calming repetition of knitting very therapeutic in helping her cope with pain.

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This program is sponsored by our group, the Fibromyalgia London Group and offered in collaboration with the London Public Library (LPL), to support the needs of the FM/CFS/ME community in London, Ontario, Canada and area, as well as anyone who feel they will benefit from being a part of this new community-led program.

Join us Thursday December 12th, 2019 from 1-2:30pm (doors open until 3pm if you want to finish, rest, relax, chat, etc.) in the Boardroom, 3rd Floor (elevators available right across from the staircase), London Public Library – Central Branch in Citi Plaza (formerly the Galleria), Downtown London, Ontario, Canada. 

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FREE program (yes, free!), OPEN TO ALL AGES, but REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED – simply email mailto:fmgroup.london@gmail.com or phone 519-453-3198 to reserve your seat. 

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Anyone of any knitting skill level who is:

Interested in learning how to knit or about therapeutic knitting as a coping method for pain management…

Interested in swapping ideas on how to live everyday with pain and manage this pain…

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Looking to enjoy fun time with others who share similar interests, make friends, etc…

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Looking to give back to community by supporting local charities in need of donated knitwear (COMING SOON! Knit/Crochet for Donation to a Local Charity – We Will Provide Supplies!).

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Please join us (and tell your friends, family, neighbours, co-workers, children, siblings, Grandma, Grandpa, mailperson, doctors, Santa, Mrs. Claus, the elves, the reindeer (I bet they’d like to learn to knit themselves sweaters with their names so we’d all stop getting them confused, on Dasher, on Dancer, on Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Daryl Dixon? Well, tell everyone!). 

Don’t Know How To Knit? We’ll Teach You! Learn How Therapeutic Knitting Can Help You Cope with Pain. Come Meet for Fun and Crafty Conversations!

Yarn provided for beginners with Instructional Help (bring own 4mm or 4.5mm needles), or please, bring your own project!

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Free knitting program, free conversation, free 2-hour underground parking in Citi Plaza if you bring your parking ticket for validation at the Front Desk on the Main Floor with your Library Card.

Contact Jacqueline
Fibromyalgia London Group
Tel: 519-453-3198 ~ Email: fmgroup.london@gmail.com

~ Website: www.fibrolondongroup.ca

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Find Us @fmlondongroup on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

DISCLAIMER STATEMENT: Fibromyalgia London Group [FLG] was created to be a resource of pertinent information, education, and peer-led wellness support to all who attend our programs and events. While we may invite healthcare professionals, advocates, practitioners or representatives from community organizations to speak at our Group meetings and special public events, FLG does not endorse, support or recommend any specific service provider, treatment, product, theory or person.

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To Knit of Not Knit, that is the question? That’s a silly question. To knit and to teach others how to knit, that’s the answer.

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Please join us for our “Goodbye 2019, We’ll Pick up that Stitch in 2020!” Knitting class on Thursday December 12th, 2019 1pm until 2:30pm 3rd floor Boardroom, Central Branch, London Public Library (in Citi Plaza). Free to all!

Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas! ¡Felices Fiestas! Jie Ri Yu Kuai! Laethanta saoire sona! Happy Hanukkah! Joyous Kwanzaa! Yuletide Greetings! Joyeux Noël! Let it snow…somewhere else! Feliz Navidad! Seasons Greetings! Happy New Year Joy! Celebrate! Be merry! Shiawasena kyūjitsu! Boas Festas! Li holide eximnandi! Happy Christmas! Wishing you a latke fun this Hanukkah! Hau’oli Lanui! मेरी क्रिसमस ! Forhe Feiertage! Selamat Hari Raya! Joyeuses Fêtes! Prettige Feestdagen! Buone Feste! Trevlig Helg! Jingle All The Way! Happy Holidays from owl of us! Tis the Season! Warmest greetings! Happy Holidays, Mate! It doesn’t matter how you say it as long as it’s said with kindness.

Posted in Educational, Fibromyalgia, Guest Speaker

Ontario Disability Benefits (ODSP): What You Need to Know

Fibromyalgia London Group is Proud to Present:

Ontario’s Disability Benefits Program (ODSP): What you need to know. Whether you’re starting the application process – ODSP, CPP-D, etc. – or going through the journey of denial and acceptance of your application, tribunals etc., make a point of coming to our information workshop.

Ontario’s Disability Benefits: From Application to Appeal presented by Rob Spencer, London Employment Help Centre

And then…

Saving While Living on Disability or Social Assistance Benefits presented by Robert Leyland, Family Services Thames Valley

Please join us Tuesday, December 3, 2019 6:30-8:30pm (Doors Open at 6:00pm) Beacock Branch Library, 1280 Huron Street, London, Ontario, Canada.

This program is open to the public, free (registration required). Hosted by the Fibromyalgia London Group with Community Partners: London Employment Help Centre, Family Services Thames Valley and the London Public Library. There’s free parking available and on several LTC bus routes (#10, #15, #27 – check http://www.londontransit.ca/ to plan your trip).

Register several ways:

Online: https://ontarios-disabiliity-benefits.eventbrite.com

Email: fmgroup.london@gmail.com or

Call: 519-453-3198

DISCLAIMER STATEMENT: Fibromyalgia London Group [FLG] was created to be a resource of pertinent information, education, and peer-led wellness support to all who attend our programs and events. While we may invite healthcare professionals, advocates, practitioners or representatives from community organizations to speak at our Group meetings and special public events, FLG does not endorse, support or recommend any specific service provider, treatment, product, theory or person.

Hope to see you there.

Posted in Educational, Fibromyalgia

Knit Happens!

Fibromyalgia London Group (FLG) invites any member, support person, or member of the public to participate in a new activity program, therapeutic knitting for those with pain and who want more purpose.

Led by Janice Sumpton, Knitter Extraordinaire and Knitwear Designer with more than 50 years knitting experience. Living with chronic pain for more than 20 years, Janice found the rhythm and calming repetition of knitting very therapeutic in helping her cope with pain.

This program is sponsored by our Group, the Fibromyalgia London Group and offered in collaboration with the London Public Library (LPL), to support the needs of the FM/CFS/ME community in London, Ontario, Canada and area, as well as anyone who feel they will benefit from being a part of this new community-led program.

Join us Thursday November 14th, 2019 from 1-3pm in the Boardroom, 3rd Floor, London Public Library-Central Branch in Citi Plaza (formerly the Galleria), Downtown London, Ontario, Canada. 

This is a FREE program, OPEN TO ALL AGES, but REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED – simply email mailto:fmgroup.london@gmail.com or phone 519-453-3198 to reserve your seat. 

Anyone of any knitting skill level who is:

Interested in learning how to knit or about therapeutic knitting as a coping method for pain management…

Interested in swapping ideas on how to live everyday with pain and manage this pain…

Looking to enjoy fun time with others who share similar interests, make friends, etc…

Looking to give back to community by supporting local charities in need of donated knitwear (COMING SOON! Knit/Crochet for Donation to a Local Charity – We Will Provide Supplies!).

Please join us (and tell your friends, family, neighbours, co-workers, children, siblings, Grandma, Grandpa, mailperson, doctors, well, tell everyone)! 

Don’t Know How To Knit? We’ll Teach You! Learn How Therapeutic Knitting Can Help You Cope with Pain. Come Meet for Fun and Crafty Conversations!

Yarn provided for beginners with Instructional Help (bring own 4mm or 4.5mm needles), or please, bring your own project!

In case you didn’t know, you can get 2-hours free underground parking in Citi Plaza if you bring your parking ticket for validation at the Front Desk on the Main Floor.  You will need your Library Card with you.

Contact Jacqueline
Fibromyalgia London Group
Tel: 519-453-3198 ~ Email: fmgroup.london@gmail.com

~ Website: www.fibrolondongroup.ca

Find Us @fmlondongroup on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

DISCLAIMER STATEMENT: Fibromyalgia London Group [FLG] was created to be a resource of pertinent information, education, and peer-led wellness support to all who attend our programs and events.  While we may invite healthcare professionals, advocates, practitioners or representatives from community organizations to speak at our Group meetings and special public events, FLG does not endorse, support or recommend any specific service provider, treatment, product, theory or person.

Spread the #knittinglove because as we all know, Knit Happens!