Why is it that society accepts disabilities when they can see them with their eyes, but it’s the chronic illness that goes undetected that they judge? When you have an ongoing battle with your health, you’ve become accustomed to people thinking you’re not really sick or that it’s all in your mind. Suffering from health issues can dampen your spirits and leave you questioning your very existence on earth.
Is it any wonder that depression, anxiety, and other mental disturbances often accompany health battles? How can you stay positive when you feel so bad in your body that even dragging yourself out of bed seems to take all the energy you can muster? Struggling with your health can leave you bankrupt financially, mentally, and physically, not to mention the fact that your spiritual being also takes a hit.
Since you have no choice but to keep going, how do you stay positive when your world seems so negative? Is it possible to wear a smile even though you feel like crying? Your mindset is a powerful thing and one of the best defenses you have against ongoing illnesses.
Ways to Stay Positive When You Face Down a Chronic Illness
First, you must come to terms with the fact that no one will ever understand how you feel on the inside. Chronic illness can take a toll on every fiber of your being and leave you questioning your very existence. However, there is a way to change your mindset to improve your outlook and keep your optimism high.
1. Count Your Blessings
It sounds very cliché to say that you need to count your blessings. Consequently, if you focus on all the wrong things in your body, you will only make matters worse. Instead, start telling yourself all the things that are good about your life. For instance, you should use express things like:
- I have a family who loves me and stands beside me in my health struggles.
- I am not alone, as I am surrounded by a loving spouse.
- Though I may be sick in my body, there is always someone else that is worse off than me.
- I have a nice, warm bed to rest in when I am tired, which many people don’t have.
- There is food in my cabinets, and my belly is full.
- Though I may not be rich, there is money to pay my bills.
When you start being thankful for the smallest of things, like the bills being paid and bread in the cabinet, it changes your perceptions. It’s hard to be downtrodden when you have so many blessings. According to one school of thought, practicing gratitude is an important strategy to sustain your well-being.
Journaling is an excellent option that allows you to get things out of your head and release them into the atmosphere. It also helps you to create an account of the battles you fight with your health. If you feel that people are tired of hearing about your bodily woes, you can put things in writing to voice.
It’s hard when you feel so bad, but you don’t want to complain about every ache and pain. Rather, it’s better to put it down in writing and release these negative feelings from your body.
3. Create A Vision Board
Ongoing battles with your health can strip you of your will to live. A vision board helps you to look beyond where you are now and into the future. If you have a condition that is a battle that you will conquer eventually, then you can focus on the victory aspect.
For instance, if you’re struggling with thyroid cancer and going through treatment, it may be hard to see sunshine ahead when you feel so bad. Thankfully, a vision board will help you prepare for the future and set goals towards being a better, healthier you.
4. Talk to A Counselor
Counseling may be an integral part of your mental health when dealing with a chronic illness. Talking to a third-party neutral individual can help you have a sounding board to let the negativity out. You don’t want to burden your family, so having this person that can help you clear your headspace is essential.
Additionally, a psychologist can give you tips and tricks to help you through this battle. Just knowing that you have someone to lean on in the darkest days of your life is reassuring.
Depending on the degree of your illness, there are days when you will feel like getting out and doing something. Do you have a gift or talent that you can share with the world? When suffering from a condition like lupus or back troubles, your issues will wax and wane.
There will be times when you have some energy. Giving back is an essential part of life, and it helps you to feel better. Though you may have limitations that dictate what you can and cannot do, there is always some way that you can assist others who have things worse off than you.
Helping others feels good, and it helps to repay karmic debt and puts you in a better headspace.
6. Use Meditation
Meditation is excellent for chronic illness as it allows you to cleanse your body of the negativity that comes with health battles. There’s something extraordinary about using this time to purge negative thoughts and feelings from your mind and heart, which allows you to focus on healing. Even if your condition is terminal, meditation can help to relax your mind and body for the struggles ahead.
During meditation, you reflect and concentrate on the positive, which has an impact on your health. According to a study published by the National Center For Complementary and Integrative Health, meditation has been proven to help lower anxiety levels and blood pressure. It would help if you tried to meditate at least once a day, but you can do smaller sessions anytime you feel overwhelmed by your struggles.
7. Turn to Your Higher Power
Your faith and spirituality are an integral part of any chronic illness battle. The belief that there is someone bigger than you who oversees things brings you a source of comfort. Prayer can change things for you and put you in a better frame of mind.
It doesn’t matter what your beliefs; turning to your faith in times of crisis can be comforting. If you have a priest, pastor, or another spiritual advisor over you, you can call them to help when things are at their worst. A spiritual guide in times of adversity is often the thing that gives you hope when the outlook seems so bleak.
8. Use Positive Affirmations
Positive affirmations are another tool that can help to put you in a better frame of mind. For instance, as soon as you get out of bed, you should have a list of affirmations that you retort to keep you in a good place. You must say these affirmations before you read social media, turn on the news, and be filled with all the negativity of the world around you.
Try saying things to yourself like:
- I am going to have a good day.
- I’m not going to let my illness define me.
- I will accomplish all the goals before me.
- No matter how bad things look, I am choosing to stay positive.
- Today, I will live life to the fullest.
The wonderful thing about these affirmations is that you can customize them to your specific situation. If you start feeling negative during the middle of the day, there’s nothing that says that you cannot quote these encouraging phrases again.
Being sick is never fun, and it’s even more of a struggle when it’s an ongoing battle. While these eight things listed above may help you, there are also other things you can do to keep you on the upswing. Remember that negativity is like an invasive cancer that can eat at the very fiber of your being.
When you allow yourself to walk down the pessimistic path, it’s hard to get back to a more positive outlook. Once you let that negativity have a place in your life, it will take hold and grow like a weed strangling your will to go on. Use your support system on days when things are at their worst, as you will need to have someone to lean on during this battle.
There’s nothing fun about chronic illness, and it can take its toll. However, never let a sickness define you. When there are good days, get out and enjoy the sunshine. Consequently, don’t push yourself on those bad days. Know your limits and when you need to rest.
Remember it won’t rain always. There will be times when the clouds break, and the sunshine comes beaming through. You can and will find effective coping skills to get you through this storm in your life.