Every so often, I get asked a question that makes me reflect on my chronic illness journey. This, of course, leads me to think of all the horrible times when every day got me down, and my quality of life was low, to say the least. It also makes me think about all the good times that I’ve had and what it’s like to enjoy life.
During this time of reflection, I realized that no matter what the highs and lows brought, it was my mindset that allowed me to deal with all the adversity every day. The mindset that I’ve had can be easily be explained by the question I got asked: “How did you keep a positive attitude and smile through everything?”
The answer to this is simple, and it’s a mindset that has guided me through most, if not all, of the challenges I’ve faced. Through all the medical appointments, tests, procedures, and surgeries, my answer to the above question was the same. I always said, “Laying in bed, staying still, and looking up at the ceiling crying, isn’t going to help anything.” I’ve said this so many times that it’s become my mantra.
Now while this is much easier to say than do, and yes, of course, there were times when I cried and cried a lot. I always knew that the sun would rise the next day, and I would do my best to figure out the next steps. It’s important to remember that the mindset you have towards whatever will be thrown at you next will be the direction of how you handle it.
Before I continue, I want to make sure that I put one MAJOR and IMPORTANT thing out there for everyone.
It’s okay to get down, it’s okay to be down, and it’s okay to stay down for a little while. But you can’t expect anything to change unless you make things change. All the medical treatments for your condition might help, you will still have to help yourself too.Brian Greenberg
Whenever I speak to other patients, their mindset is one of the first things I talk about. I personally like to get real and let anyone who is newly diagnosed or had a life-changing event know, that there will be hard times ahead. Speed bumps are going to be inevitable, and one of the most important things to learn early on is how to roll with them.
Some resources and tools that I use to maintain my mindset are:
- Meditation – Being able to take a break from the day and clear some headspace is key to keeping a healthy mindset.
- Breathing – Simple breathing techniques can calm your mind, body, and nerves. Breath in for 3 seconds, hold it for 2, and then breath out for 5 seconds. Promise, it helps.
- Journaling – There are various journals our there that can guide you every day and your life. Gratitude and/or productivity journals are a great place to start.
- Exercise – Keeping the blood flowing is proven to help your mindset significantly. It relieves stress while balancing your mind and body in countless ways.
- Gratitude – Make sure you remember that there are still good things happening in your life. Don’t forget the small things also, like your dog jumping on the bed to cuddle.
- Affirmations – Planting positivity into your mind is one of the best things you can do. Make a list that you can repeat every morning, and don’t hesitate to search “Motivation” on Youtube.
In the end, all of the above helped in a wide variety of ways. They all allowed me to keep a positive mindset and know that things will be okay in the long run. There are still challenges that I face, but putting in the work to keep both my body and MIND healthy has been the best investment I have ever made.
If you feel like you need help with your mindset, you might just need a “reset.” I’m happy to help and love talking with other Spoonies who are fighting a chronic illness. Please feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will do my best to learn about your fight, and how we can work together to overcome the adversity, you might be facing together.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE!