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A Winning Mindset

When you are sick to the point you can no longer work or function in any meaningful way, you become consumed with finding a cure, a magic pill, a wizard for a doctor - anything to get you out of the hole of illness.  It’s easy to give up your own personal power, because we are trained to believe that a doctor or some miracle drug or procedure will cure us when we are sick.  But most illnesses don’t have magical cures.  Getting yourself well will largely depend upon your mindset and willingness to take personal accountability for your health.  Master your mindset at the outset, and you will be well on your way to getting well.

What exactly do I mean?  Let me be specific.

When you wake up, what’s the first thing you say to yourself?  I understand that you can’t lie your way into believing everything is rainbows and butterflies when you can barely find the energy to get dressed.  But you CAN be grateful for actually waking up and being given another day to work toward getting well.  Whatever the situation you find yourself in with your health, do your best to put a positive spin on it.  Tell yourself, it’s going to be okay.  You’re going to get better.  Focus on what you CAN do and celebrate all of your small victories.  Post positive quotes and affirmations someplace where you will see them everyday.  Keep your inner dialogue positive, just as if you were coaching yourself - because you are!  You may be having the worst day of your life, but you’re still alive.  The candle is still burning.  Your story is not over!  When I first fell sick, I was very scared.  Doctors were baffled as I was rapidly spiraling downward.  It was hard for me to sport any degree of optimism.  Fortunately, I had my mother to feed me with positive thoughts.  I needed those pep talks, because I didn’t yet know how to give one to myself. 

If you don’t have anyone in your life to lean on and reassure you, you may need to do it yourself.  All it takes is practice.  There are great resources such as podcasts from motivational speakers and self-help books.  One book in particular entitled, ‘Jesus Calling,’ by Sarah Young, really helped me keep a sound mindset on dark days.  It is a daily devotional with uplifting Bible passages.  As fate would have it, the author also suffered from Lyme Disease.

Each and every time you eat, are you consciously making the right decisions? The food battle is won entirely in your mind. When preparing a meal, are you staying focused on your goal? Instead of asking yourself, ‘what do I feel like eating?’ a better question is, ‘what does my body need right now to assist it in healing?’  It likely needs something to support your gut, fight inflammation, and promote cellular health.  There is no need to reinvent the wheel here on what you should be eating – read Dr. Terry Wahls' book, The Wahls Protocol, if you haven’t already.  She lays out precisely how you should eat and why.  It’s simple science, and it works.  Don’t deviate from the plan. 

At all times, you should ONLY eat those foods that will tip the scales in your favor.  If you do this each and every time you are faced with a choice on what to eat, you will slowly chip away at your health woes.  It won’t happen overnight.  But it will happen.  Keep your mind focused on the prize – your health!  A cookie here and a cookie there adds up over time.  Be the master of your thoughts at every turn, and make the right choices.  The quality of your decisions at every small juncture will make a big impact over the long haul.

Are you believing in your recovery?  Are you planning for it?  What does your life look like when you get well?  Surely this experience has changed your life, how will that be reflected in the “new you”?  Some days are harder than others to truly believe you’ll ever feel normal again, but practicing faith and visualizing your recovery are very important.  Trust that when you follow the process and put in the work to care for your body, eat well, and rest, your body will do the heavy lifting.  You will get there.  It’s your job to believe.  Others have done it before you, so you can do it as well.  Don’t add more stress to your taxed body by enveloping yourself in a slew of proverbial rain clouds.  Feed your mind positive thoughts and believe, and this in turn will help your body to create hormones to help you relax and heal.

And finally, are you being your own best friend?  Take a step back and close your eyes.  Keeping in mind all you’ve been through, how hard it’s been, how hard you’ve worked, how far you've come, and how easy it would have been at so many turns to just quit, imagine what you’d say to yourself if YOU were your own best friend.  You’d tell yourself that you’re a rockstar!  You’d tell yourself that you’re a virtual Olympian!  You’d say, “WOW! Great job!!” 

Fighting a chronic and debilitating illness is hard work, to say the very least.  To the outside world, it may look like you do nothing but lay in bed all day.  You may get brushed off as a hypochondriac, or crazy, or just plain not tough enough.  Few people truly understand the struggle.  You’re exhausted, scared, and sick with something few doctors understand.  And all the while, you have to find a way out.  It can feel like you are deserted on an island.  I know the feeling very well, and it would crush a lot of people.  But, NOT YOU!  You are working your way through it.  When you have bad days, imagine what you would tell yourself if you were your own best friend?  I bet you'd remind yourself that setbacks are a part of the recovery process, and that you’re gonna have some bad days and some bad weeks.  But the overall trajectory is upward, so don’t let it get you down.  Keep going!  THAT’S what a good friend would tell you, and THAT’S what you need to tell yourself.  Through it all, be your own best friend.

Your mindset and self-talk are crucial parts of the battle to restore your health.   What you think about on a daily basis your body gravitates towards. Are you gravitating toward health or illness? Suffering or healing? Winning or losing? This is not fluffy pie-in-the-sky stuff, it has been proven over and over again that your brain and the thoughts it generates can and will impact your health. So, keep your thoughts productive, and you will eventually reach the outcome you're working toward.


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