Living Happy With Chronic Illness

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By Bonnie Moehle –

What if you lived with a chronic illness or a disability – something that affects the way you feel, physically, every day?  Could you still live a happy, productive life?  The answer is yes – but it is all about the mindset.

People who are happy, in spite of their physical challenges have a few important things in common.  The most important is that they are in acceptance.  They don’t feel sorry for themselves, they don’t spend hours of their time asking “why me?” and they don’t hate their pain or disability – they embrace it.  So many of us hate our challenges because we believe that by focusing on “what’s wrong” that somehow it will make us better, or motivate us to find a solution. In reality, focusing on the negative only makes us feel sicker, and too tired to try something new.  When we accept our physical state, it may still be there, and it may be annoying, but it no longer determines the way we experience the quality of each day.  Acceptance is not resignation.  It does not mean that we no longer follow healthy pathways to deal with our illness.  When we fully accept, we actually become more creative and have innovative ideas as to how to work on and around our challenges.

Happy people don’t allow their minds to fear the future.  Patients with chronic illnesses feel down and depressed when they project into the future.  “What if I never get better?”  “What if I always feel ill?”  This kind of thinking causes more pain, symptoms and even depression.  Focusing on the present moment always helps.  Especially when the focus is on what is right rather than what is wrong and what they have rather than what they don’t have.  Practicing gratitude is an important part of what keeps them positive and productive.  And what if they never get better?  With the right mindset, life is joyful and fulfilling, anyway.

They find something they are good at or that they enjoy doing, and they do it.  Often it is something that serves others.  Serving others is extremely gratifying, keeps them in the present moment and helps them to keep moving forward in a productive way, even when their bodies aren’t feeling well.

They consciously choose the way they will experience their lives by monitoring their self-talk.  Negative self-talk about life and the future is caught and released and replaced with a focus on what they are capable of now, and visions of a positive and productive future, even if that future involves working around their challenges.  They see themselves as contributing to the world in whatever way they can, and they feel confident in themselves because they know they are capable of overcoming their physical challenges.

Living happy with chronic illness or disability is a mindset, it is acceptance, it is a choice. And, there are many wonderful coaches, teachers and motivators who can help with the tools to make that choice a reality.

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