You do everything you can to eat right, exercise regularly, and make healthy lifestyle choices. Or you’ve thought about doing so, but haven’t quite followed up with this very much yet. Or you feel like you should, but really don’t want to. Or sometimes you do these things, sometimes you don’t. You’re young. You’re old. You’re somewhere in-between. Regardless, it’s likely you’ve had, or at some point will have to deal with a significant health challenge, something beyond a stubbed toe or head cold, something that may be painful, limit your capacities, and/or threaten your survival.
Frustration, fear, anger, grief, sorrow, self-pity–any or all of these reactions may well up in dealing with your situation. It’s normal and it’s natural. And trying to stuff these emotions back down is likely only to increase your suffering sooner or later. More and more, research has shown how our mental and emotional state impacts our physical health. So what might help you to authentically cope with your situation in the most positive and effective way?
In speaking with and observing friends, family members, and clients, as well as considering my own experiences, a number of suggestions arose. Below is what our lay experts have to say. What might it be like to use these suggestions? What suggestions do you have of your own?
Don’t dwell on your health challenge too much. You are not the illness or injury; you are simply dealing with it. Be sure to pay attention to the other parts of your life as well. You’re likely to feel better emotionally, and more like yourself.
Consider with whom you’ll discuss your health challenge, as well as how often and in what ways. The fears, past experiences, and sympathy or pity of well-meaning others can drag you down because they focus upon your challenge as a negative. Who will be a compassionate supporter? Who will hold a positive space with and for you?
Don’t label your health challenge with its medical term, which can have many negative associations to it. Instead, see it in symbolic terms. This may help loosen up your view of it, bring you a greater sense of positive potential, and envision and work toward more positive outcomes.
Let your supporters know what form of support you’d like. This may be different at different times, so keep communicating. Are you seeking advice? Feedback? Cheerleading? Neutral listening? Help with tasks?
Have patience. Time as well as tenacity may be required for your healing. Trying to push the river may be pointless or even produce negative results, extending your healing time, so accepting where you’re at while continuing to envision your positive outcome is important.
Trust your gut in making decisions. Information-gathering in itself is unlikely to provide one 100% guaranteed “correct” choice and ultimately your healthcare choices are your own. So give yourself what you need to line up with a choice and then follow through on it.
Don’t give up. If the approach you’ve been going with has been given a good try and isn’t working for you, open to exploring other avenues.
Don’t expect to feel positive all the time. Emotions come up. Don’t judge yourself for having them. So long as we don’t hold on to them or feed them, they are temporary states. Accept your feelings for what they are, and return to your positive focus when you’re ready.
Trust. To the best of your ability, let go of worries, fears, and resistance, surrender to the universal flow, and watch the magic unfold. Remembering this may help lessen some of the suffering in the moment.
Focus on what you can do more than on what you can’t, and do those activities that bring you joy and fulfillment.
Do something creative that you wouldn’t otherwise. Your current limitations may even help inspire the form your creativity takes. For example, when a very physically active friend was laid up in recovery from a hip replacement, she danced with her toes, developing the strength and coordination of her ankles, feet and toes.
Think about how you anticipate feeling when your healing is complete. Do your best to really feel how that feels, perhaps even imagining you’re breathing this feeling in from every direction, or it’s being poured into you by angels.
Pay attention to, and to the best of your ability, stay actively engaged in the lives of your loved ones, and with the world around you.
Spend time in nature. Sunshine can be very healing. Take time to slow down and appreciate the life around you. Breathe in the freshness of the earth. If you can’t get outside, play recordings of nature sounds and surround yourself with plants and flowers. Imagine yourself in a beautiful forest or meadow.
Cultivate gratitude. This allows you to release negative emotions that no longer serve you. Taking time each day to practice gratefulness, whether in a thought, prayer, affirmative statement, meditation, or simply looking around for things for which you are grateful is healing. It’s particularly helpful to include yourself, and also the many ways in which your body is working well. Given the human body’s complexity, no matter your health challenge, likely there are many things functioning well, so this is a more balanced, accurate view. Gratitude allows us to receive more love and joy, and bathes the very body cells in a positive charge, relaxing us.
Special thanks to Joshua Alan Brown for his assistance with this article, and also to numerous friends, clients, and loved ones.
Roslyn Elena McGrath is an observer, participant, visionary, and implementer of life as it is and can be. She supports herself and others to shine their light through personal growth and vibrational healing sessions, workshops, books, recordings, art, and this magazine. Visit http://www.EmpoweringLightworks.com and HealthandHappinessUPMag.com.
Reprinted with permission from the Spring 2019 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine, copyright 2019. All rights reserved.