Mind Over Matter
Sometimes, when you live with chronic illness, “Mind over Body” has to be your mantra. It is all too easy to let the body win, to continually focus on how unwell you feel and allow that to keep you from living.
If you can make small incremental changes, they can all add up to help you reach your goal.
That’s what The 1 % Solution is all about, doing small things each day to improve your life. You aren’t trying turn your life around in 1 day, just do something small to make yourself feel better, whether it’s for that moment or something that will improve your life overall by just 1%.
It’s easy when we get down and get smacked over and over again with “you can’t do that” to give up and crawl in a corner and stop trying to do anything at all. It’s learned helplessness and this is what often leads to depression.
That’s the easy answer – just curl up into a ball and focus on how unwell you feel, and use that as the reason for not even attempting to do anything to feel better. It becomes no big deal to miss an appointment, you can always do it later. It’s no big deal to skip stretching today, I can still do it tomorrow.
Sometimes having understanding friends or family just makes it easier to make excuses. They know we don’t feel well and they don’t want to push us too hard and risk seeing us feel worse.
When we live with chronic pain, so many things are taken away from us, so many small enjoyments and so many big things too. However, we can get some of those things back with a little “mind over body”.
A good friend reminded me that I can’t let my body win all the time. Doing that only leads to depression.
Mind Over Body is easier said than done.
It’s also important to remember that it’s not as simple as just getting up and doing everything with no regards to how you may feel later. You have to have balance or your body will have ever right to knock you back down.
Mind Over Body is about focusing on the times when you do feel good enough to do something (anything) and pushing yourself to do so, even though you have plenty of reasons why it can wait. You’ve gotten so used to not feeling good enough that that becomes your standard excuse. But, you need to ask yourself, is it the truth? Or are you just saying it out of habit?
By using these excuses you are missing out on things your body and mind need!
With Fibro we deal with a variety of issues from general pain and lack of sleep to fibro fog. It’s important to choose your activities on any given day based on how you feel. If you know you need to socialize, doing it on a fibro fog day may not be the best choice. You probably won’t get enough out of it to really feel that you got your need filled. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t do it on a day when your body is tired but your mind is open. Getting out and doing things when you are in pain, especially socializing can often help distract you from the pain and leave you feeling better both mentally and physically.
The 1% Solution, on the other hand, is about choosing to do small things to improve your life little by little. You won’t turn everything around overnight, but if you can improve your life by just 1% in a given day, then it’s worthwhile. If that 1% is just putting the dishes away, then you’ve made your life a little better. If that 1% is calling a friend you miss, you’ll definitely feel much better.
Each day sit down and try to think of one thing that will make you feel better, mentally or physically. Then do it. I don’t know how many days I have woken up feeling like a shower is beyond my abilities. Yet, almost every time I force myself to take a shower (even a very short one) I end up feeling more awake and focused.
If you have more than 1 thing you want to get done,don’t get overwhelmed. Make a list. If you do the one thing and you feel you can do another, then do it. Otherwise, keep your list and work on the next item tomorrow. Scratch through your list items, just seeing that you’ve accomplished something will make you feel better.