THE RELAXATION RESPONSE
Relaxation News by Laurie H. Miller, C.C.H.
Issue 33 – May 2008
Chronic Illness is the subject I am addressing in this newsletter. It seems to affect more people than we can imagine. A chronic illness isn’t the name of just one illness. It’s a word used to describe a group of health conditions that last a long time. In fact, the root word of chronic is chronos,” which refers to time. In a nutshell, it is a problem or condition that may limit what a person can do, that doesn’t always go away.
Although a cure may not always be possible, there are wonderful tools to help manage chronic illness so that life feels valuable and happy.
Take Care, Laurie
CHRONIC ILLNESS… Optimist or Pessimist?
133 million people, or almost half of all Americans, live with a chronic condition
A “fighting spirit” aids recovery.
Four Negative Tendencies of a Chronically Ill Person:
- Suppress anger and anxiety.
- Suppress appropriate assertiveness.
- Cope poorly with stressful situations.
- Feel hopeless, helpless, and depressed under stress.
HEALTH OPTIMISTS vs HEALTH PESSIMISTS
The mind plays a role in the onset of many chronic illnesses and also in the course such an illness takes. The mind also affects the outcome of a chronic illness.
In the face of an illness that has to come to stay for life, our mind will, to an extent, determine how well we perform the activities of daily living and the quality of the social and emotional life we live. Even though the physical disease may not be reversed, adaptive coping and positive management style can change the way we experience symptoms and how disabled we become.
After crossing the stages of shock, denial, anger, and protest, you ask yourself, “How do I manage this disease? What coping skills do I need for the job I have been ‘volunteered’ to do?” We have the choice to live up to the challenge or to dodge, duck, and “pass the buck” to our doctor or our family. If we opt for the first choice, we start learning to swim with the “shark.” If we take the second choice, we sink under the weight of the blue whale, the chronic illness. What we regard as illness limitations and restrictions may lie in our own belief system, rather than in our body.
Replace negative thoughts with acceptance thoughts such as, “I don’t like being sick, but I can live with it.” We wrongly fear that acceptance of our illness amounts to surrendering to it. Acceptance does not mean that we are inviting the illness to stick with us for ever. On the contrary, when you accept your illness it frees your powers to work on recovery and rehabilitation that were earlier being used to protest and fight against the disease. An acceptance of the disease may even release the powers that were dormant which you had no idea you had. It is the freed up powers and the dormant powers that enable a person to “ride the tiger”.
TO SUCCESSFULLY COPE WITH CHRONIC ILLNESS:
Accept that you are 100% responsible for what happens to you. Freeze the blame at point zero. However, accept help from others with a gracious “thank you.” You don’t have to do it alone. Give others a chance to help you.
FOUR PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS TO SUCCESSFULLY COPE WITH CHRONIC ILLNESS:
- You must have a fighting spirit. That means you know exactly what you are up against.
- You must like yourself under all circumstances. If you don’t, chances are that you won’t take very good care of yourself.
- You must have a strong belief that you are more than your body. There is more to you than the physical functions you can perform.
- You must have a problem-solving attitude towards the challenges you face on any given day rather than dwell in the past when the problems did not exist.
Problems translated as “challenges” lead to new solutions and means for personal growth.
YOUR REFERRALS ARE APPRECIATED!
Rebecca Shaw, Dr. Ann Lundquist, Dr. Maya Ziegler, Toni Vrisolovich, Amber Adrian, Dr. Chris Barney,Sheri Senters, Rita Briandi, Rhonda Foley, Joan Donnelly, Denise McPhee, Stepahny Palicte, Judy Chan, Dr. Flora, Karen McKenzie, Pamela Mills, Chonita Bingham, Mary Hamer, Maryalice Khan, Barbara Bennett, Debby Gaal, LeeAnn Griffin, Jackie Dodd, Paula Polito, Sharon Martinez, Gene Riedel and Katherine Martin.
Many of you have sent me multiple referrals, so double, triple +++++ THANKS TO YOU!!