Maintaining a positive and proactive perspective is a crucial endeavor in the journey to autoimmune wellness.
So, with this understanding, how can we maintain positive thoughts as women with undiagnosed, chronic or autoimmune conditions?As Mary Beth Janssen states in The Book of Self Care, ”our issues are truly in our tissues”. It is possible that various emotional challenges are a root cause of disease in our lives. In what she calls emotional housecleaning, it’s important for us to clear negative patterns, to maintain positive emotions and thoughts that may keep us from beneficial thoughts and behaviors.
Again, as autoimmune women, why does this all matter? Because our feelings and thoughts affect what is taking place in our physical health.
Maintaining positive thoughts can drastically change the way health is expressed in our bodies. For example, if we don’t believe in opportunities for healing, we will be unable to see them when they are in front of us.
What are some examples of thoughts that can keep us away from having a positive perspective?
For example, you may desire to travel but have not traveled for years. And as a women with chronic or autoimmune conditions, mobility or even anxiety may be an issue. The idea of travel could cause an immediate sense of sadness, fear or anger.
Likewise, it could be the thought of interviewing, or starting a new job and the stress of an unfamiliar environment.
It could be other possible challenges such as social interactions. Visiting family, or attending a support group or other social event may seem exhausting or scary to plan out.
There could be a strong feelings that arise at the very idea of activities such as these, and may be difficult to do these things.
These are some examples of how chronic or autoimmune living can be a challenge for positive thinking. But if you are seeking strategies to achieve positive living to achieve your dreams, these are three key steps in the journey:
1.Mindfully acknowledge the feeling. We begin with the process of taking a moment to become aware of what is going on. This first step is about acknowledgement. Some of the immediate feelings and patterns of resistance to a new goal began way back in childhood. Sometimes it was a parent’s response to a life goal or dream.
In practicing mindfulness, we take a moment to stop and reflect on what is taking place. We are aware of the present moment without judgement. Accept the fact that this is taking place. Say to yourself, I am angry, sad, etc. and it is OK.
Let the feelings emerge and bubble to the surface. Mary Beth Janssen calls this emotional housecleaning. It is time to let these feelings emerge.
2. Allow yourself to process the feelings. As human beings, we are given feelings. It is important to acknowledge and allow yourself to feel the feelings. More particularly, we want to understand where the feelings are coming from, and sometimes it takes time for us to gain this understanding. What in particular is bothering me? Why am i so upset? How can I make changes to this pattern? Allow yourself to feel the feelings, and share these feelings with another individual, friend, family member, or therapist. This is where you learn, experience and gain new insights into what has been keeping positivity a challenge.
And some situations are clearer than others, such as the loss of a loved one. But other blocks and feelings require for us to ask some important questions. Is it true that I cannot do the things that I want to do? If it is something you truly desire to do, it is particularly important to explore these thoughts and feelings. I strongly believe that if you are here on earth and you have a desire, there’s a way to make it happen. Believe that God, angels, the universe can find a way, even it if does not look exactly the way you imagined it.
Seek out stories about role models who have been through challenges and have emerged from the difficulties. Amazing and inspiring women exist in the media who are living amazing lives despite chronic or disabling illness. What we thought was impossible has been made possible throughout history.
The key is to understand why we feel that we cannot do something we wish to do. There is learning in this process and in these thoughts. And when you focus on these thoughts interesting patterns and realizations emerge. Acknowledge the feeling stopping you from what will make you happy, what keeps you from the way to your desired life. Ask yourself how you can move forward. This can take a day, week, or longer. Allow yourself to process this. When I was processing the challenges of the autoimmune relapse and diagnosis, I took a day off and spent time at a retreat center for some peace of mind. I will always remember this as a key moment of reflection and meditation. This was where I decided to let God be in control, and that I would be open to learning from this challenge and accepted what God would have take place in my life.
3. Release, accept and be willing to move on. Once the feelings are processed and insights have emerged, it is time for the third step. We let go of the upsetting thoughts and are ready to move forward. We have begun to learn from the expereince and are ready to let it go. For example, just like a breakup, you get to a point where you are ready to move on, realize that the relationship no longer was suitable, and that you are ready for a new chapter.These are the 3 strategies I coach my clients with, to maintain a positive way of thinking and the foundations leading to our next topic on proactive strategies for autoimmune wellness.
How have you been able to process difficult feelings of sadness, hurt, anger and turn around to live positively on the path to your desired life?