If you have a chronic illness, you may spend a lot more time than you’d like trying to stay positive. The daily physical and mental challenges can sometimes leave you burned out. But that’s ok, it happens to all of us. That’s the first thing to recognize is, that it is ok. Sometimes you have to let it go and let yourself have a mini pity party. Let that feeling flow through you.
Then it’s time to reset and move forward. Being positive takes practice and is not a trait that you have to be born with. I don’t mean Pollyanna, everything is good all the time optimism, but truly taking stock and having strategies to practice, so that it becomes the direction you lean towards most of the time. You know the person who, no matter what the topic, finds the negative and wants to dwell on it. It can just become habit and many times they don’t even realize they’re doing it. Think of it as a muscle to work out and with practice it will become easier over time. Here are a few ways to incorporate a positivity practice in your life.
~ Start with what you have. Not what you don’t have. Comparing yourself to others is a quick route to negativity because you will always find someone else who has a better ____(fill in the blank). But the reality is that someone most certainly has it worse, so start with gratitude for what you do have. The little things count and thinking about what you are grateful for on a daily basis keeps it more center stage.
~ Let a bad day be just a bad day. Sometimes when you’re having a tough time, it’s easy to throw everything else negative going on in your life and pile on. Especially when you’re having a bad day and you’re also fatigued. Work through the difficulty at hand and don’t dwell on anything else at that moment.
~ It’s the company you keep. The saying that “misery loves company” can be very true. If you have someone in your life who is an Oscar the Grouch, you may want to rethink how it’s impacting your quality of life. Maybe you can be the catalyst to help them realize their negativity and help them to seek ways to be more positive. Unfortunately, sometimes it may mean spending less time with them and spending more time with those who are better supportive.
~ How you verbalize things matter. How you frame your speech can have a big impact on how you feel about things in your life. So if you came in second place at the pie baking contest the pessimist might say, “I knew I wouldn’t win. I should have practiced more. I wasn’t good enough to win”. The optimist might say, “I had a great time participating. It was my first pie contest and I learned a lot, and am thrilled that I placed second.” Practice saying the glass is half full.
~ Lastly, exercise. It’s been proven over and over again that exercise can not only help you physically but also help mentally to work out stress, relieve tension, and to help you reset. So do your favorite exercise or go outside and take a walk and start each day with an empty cup. How will you fill it?
I’ve love to hear your tips on helping stay positive with a chronic illness. ~kai