Approximately 150 million Americans have been diagnosed with a chronic illness. Of that 150 million, roughly 100 million have been diagnosed with more than one.
If you fall into one of these groups, you know how difficult it can be to manage daily tasks like going to the grocery store or even getting dressed.
When you’re struggling with pain, fatigue, and other chronic disease symptoms, maintaining a positive attitude is probably the last thing on your mind. After all, how are you supposed to focus on positivity when so many things seem to be going wrong?
Although it may feel easier to focus on the negative instead of the positive, shifting your mindset could actually help you improve your condition and minimize your symptoms.
Read on to learn more about the power of positivity and what you can do to maintain a positive attitude while dealing with a chronic illness.
Why is Positivity so important?
First, it’s important to understand why positivity matters for people who are struggling with chronic illnesses.
Maintaining a positive attitude can help you improve your mood and avoid mental health conditions like depression and anxiety.
If you’re able to focus on the good things in your life, you may be less likely to succumb to feelings of sadness and worry.
Staying positive can also put you in a better position to heal your body. If you’re constantly worrying and focusing on negative aspects of your life, it’s easy for you to enter a sympathetic state.
This state (which is sometimes referred to as “fight-or-flight” mode) can increase tension and levels of inflammation throughout the body. This is not conducive to recovery, especially for people who struggle with autoimmune diseases.
How to Maintain a Positive Attitude
As you can see, there are plenty of benefits that come with staying positive while struggling with chronic illnesses. But, how do you actually change your mindset and maintain positive feelings?
Listed below are some simple strategies you can employ to start shifting your mindset and developing a more positive attitude.
Celebrate Small Victories
It’s easy to get frustrated and focus on what you can’t do when you’re dealing with a chronic illness. Instead of ruminating on these things, though, try flipping the script and thinking about all the things you’ve already done.
Don’t get upset with yourself for not vacuuming the house. Celebrate the fact that you were able to cook dinner or get showered and dressed for the day.
There’s no victory that’s too small to celebrate. The more you focus on your “wins,” the better you’ll feel.
Recognize and Manage Stressors
People with chronic illnesses need to take extra care to minimize and manage the stressors in their life. It’s impossible to be totally stress-free, but you can take steps to get rid of unwanted stressors.
When you feel yourself starting to get stressed out, take a step back and ask yourself why you’re feeling this way. Then, evaluate whether or not you can change the situation. If you can change it, do. If you can’t, look for ways to cope with that stressor and view it in a more positive light.
Do Something Nice for Yourself Every Day
Make sure you’re taking time every day to do something nice for yourself. Sometimes, this can be a big thing like buying a lift chair that makes standing up easier. Other times, it can be as simple as spending five minutes sitting outside in the sunshine.
Some people make self-care more complicated than it needs to be. In reality, though, the most important thing is that you’re doing something that makes you feel good. Remember, your self-care doesn’t need to look like anyone else’s.
Find Ways to Help Others
Finally, it’s important to find ways to get out of your own head and help others. Remember, you’re not the only one who’s struggling.
One way to be of service is to volunteer for a foundation or nonprofit that helps people who suffer from your same chronic illness.
You’ll be able to share information and advice with people who are in the same situation as you, and you’ll also get to learn from others and potentially find new ways to better manage your own symptoms. It’s a win-win!
If you’re dealing with a chronic illness (or multiple chronic illnesses) and are finding it difficult to maintain a positive attitude, these tips can help. Give them a try today.
It may take a while to implement them into your life, and you might feel a bit awkward at first. Over time, though, they’ll become second nature and you’ll find that it’s much easier to focus on the positive aspects of your life.