Have you ever felt that life is trying to see what you’re made of? Piling on the problems and the chaos in an attempt to make you snap? So what do you do? Give up and let the issues break you and define who you are, or face them head on with the attitude of a survivor? We would prefer the latter route of course, but sometimes it just doesn’t come easily or naturally. Sometimes having a positive outlook is a battle in and of itself. I’m writing this as a reminder to myself, a reminder that positivity is a choice and should be made a priority.
During this battle with Amyloidosis many of my doctors and nurses have commented on my positive attitude, noting how the right mind set can make a difference during the course of treatment. I will be the first to say that it has not always been easy for me to stay optimistic. I did however make it a priority. Throughout this illness there have been many things out of my control, but even when I could not control my physical state, I could control my mental state. I am a big believer in the idea that “life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you deal with it.”
Some days it was harder than others, but it was important to me to maintain a positive outlook. I know it will not be the same for everyone, but here are some of the ways I pulled myself up when I was having those rough days. (Please keep in mind that I am in no way a professional, these are just some ideas that work for me).
Feel your feelings
It helped me to realize that you don’t have to feel positive and upbeat all the time to still have an overall positive attitude. There will be times when you feel down, depressed, overwhelmed, scared or lonely. Feel these feelings, acknowledge them, and then move on. Write them down if that helps you release them, tell someone your fears, or set a timer and spend a few minutes with the sad thoughts. Just don’t live here! Don’t dwell on the negativity. Spend a few minutes here and then move on.
Occupy your mind!
I have a list that I keep with me of things I enjoy doing, realistic things that I could do even when I was at my sickest. Anything that puts a smile on your face can make the list, such as watching a funny movie, reading, listening to music, colouring, writing, scrapbooking pictures of my kids. When you’re stuck with these depressing thoughts and you’re not physically well, even figuring out something to do can feel overwhelming. Having these ready made ideas helped to keep my mind occupied with things I enjoyed. When my focus was elsewhere I was not just dwelling on my disease or how crappy I felt. Make it a priority to spend some time doing the things that make you happy.
Remember you are not alone! Whether it’s a friend, family member, doctor, therapist, or support group, you can find a friendly shoulder to lean on. Sometimes just knowing I had back up and hearing someone say “You’ve got this! Brighter days are ahead!” was enough to revive my spirit.
Don’t confuse your path with your destination
It’s difficult when your in the midst of horrible times to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Remember that your life is ever changing, and that things are not permanent. Some days will be better than others, and one thing you can count on is that they will at the very least, be different. Try your best to take things one day at a time, because you don’t have to , nor is it possible, to have the future figured out. Make the best out of your situation, however crappy it is, and have faith that brighter days are ahead.
Seek out positivity
I have another list(and maybe a few pinterest boards) of positive quotes. Inspirational sayings that speak to me and help me lift my spirits. Because sometimes all we need is a little reminder to refocus those thoughts onto more positive things. “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” (Yes, I am a Harry Potter geek).
Sometimes staying positive is a lot harder than it sounds, but the more you practice it the easier it gets, and the more natural it will become for you. Focus on the things you can control, find the joy around you, and remember YOU HAVE GOT THIS. “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, loved more than you know, and twice as beautiful as you’ve ever imagined.”
Please feel free to share in the comments section below any ideas that have helped you to get through the rough patches.