5 Tips for Staying Positive Despite Chronic Illness
When you live with chronic illness, life can be rough and it can be very difficult to remain positive. The little things often drag us down, we focus inward, and we forget to notice the small joys in life, while the small (and large) negatives seem to pile up and take over.
Most of us at some point will reach a breaking point, a turning point if you will, that point where you have to make a decision to either learn how to change your focus and learn to LIVE despite chronic illness, or you let it take over.
1 . Accept Reality – We waste so much energy trying to fight what is real, instead of just learning to accept it. This is true for anyone but I believe it is even more so for those of us living with chronic illness.
Who can blame us for fighting against it and not wanting to accept a life of chronic pain and/or fatigue? But the truth is that chronic illness is our reality and the earlier we can learn to accept it and work with it, instead of fighting it the more energy we will have to work with, and the easier and smoother our lives will be.We waste too much energy fighting reality. Click To Tweet
2 . Focus on the Good Days – Even within a life of chronic pain and fatigue, the levels vary. While one day you may not be able to get out of bed, another day you may be able to clean the house. When you find yourself having a bad day, remember that this is not permanent, that they aren’t all bad days.
There are good days in the mix and we need to remember them. It’s so easy when we find ourselves sliding back to think backwards is our new direction and lose all hope, but we must focus on how we’ve been in this place before and we have overcome. You will overcome again. There will be more good days ahead.There will be good days, too. There are always good days if we allow them. Click To Tweet
3 . Keep Moving Forward – Life will knock you back sometimes, and sometimes your forward steps will be much smaller than others, but as long as you keep making the effort to move forward. It doesn’t matter how small our step is, just keep moving in the right direction.
There will be times when you slide backwards, when you can’t help it and you can’t do anything about it. When those times come just continue to focus on moving forward.
Keep looking in the direction you want to go and eventually your steps will start moving that way again. If you allow yourself to look backwards and get focused on the slide, you will continue to move in the wrong direction. Keep your eyes on the prize.Forward is really the only direction worth going. We've already seen what's behind us. Click To Tweet
4 . Focus on the Positive – We can’t control what goes on around us. We can’t control the way our friends or family treat us, the negative looks that someone may give us for using a disability aid, but we can control our response.
When we choose to use positivity as a response we turn an entire event around and we control the flow.
A friend of mine recently described a traffic interaction she had where someone else got upset and flipped her the bird. Her response was to smile and wave back. I thought that was the perfect response. She didn’t let the other person’s negativity bring her down.
We can’t let the negative in the world bring us down. Stay focused on the positive. If someone treats your poorly just tell yourself they are having a bad day and move on.We can't control what goes on around us, but we can choose to respond positively. Click To Tweet
5 . Find Joy the Small Things – Whether it’s watching your cat play with a toy, seeing a flower through the window, or a smile from a friend, take the time to find joy in the small things.
Little happy moments are everywhere if we choose to see them. We just have to take our eyes off of being internally focused and look around us. Look for the beautiful sunset, the cloud shaped like a cartoon character, or the random smile of a stranger. If we focus on those small joys that’s one less moment that we are focused on the negative.
I know it may all seem a bit trite, especially if you are at that point where everything seems dark and you wonder what the point of continuing even is. I understand. I’ve been there, too. I’ve read posts like this and said “yeah right, you really don’t get it.”
I’ve been in that place, but I’m in a better place now. So, I can tell you without a doubt that it is possible to find the positive, to find the joy again. Things can get better.