My Twitter community have buoyed me up recently with supportive messages. The optimism and happiness they exude are both gratifying and humbling. And this can only help me build my own happiness and contentment.
This experience has left me in a very positive frame of mind. And it is not the first time I have blogged about how positive thinking can provide hope for chronic illness.
First of all, I have had a chronic illness for a long time. I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis back in 1994. This has provided many periods of frustration and despondency.
However, I have now learned to cope with the condition in a much more positive manner. My infirmity is not a disability. But, it is a challenge to be conquered.
The Multiple Sclerosis Story
One of my earliest blog posts on the fatigue of Multiple Sclerosis may not be my finest piece of literary work. But, I was new to blogging and to Multiple Sclerosis.
Since that time, I am coping better with this debilitating condition. And every day I learn a little more about writing to engage my new community.
Not knowing what to expect with a newly diagnosed condition, is often one of the greatest hurdles. At this time I was a frequent visitor to the pub. And now with the multiple sclerosis diagnosis long since confirmed I no longer partake.
A common symptom of MS is footdrop. This would cause me to trip and stumble. If that was not bad enough, dysarthria could make my speech sound slurred. Neither of these conditions helped dissuade my wife from her conviction that I had become a secret drinker.
Many of my early posts concentrated on the various pharmaceutical interventions that were available. I won’t dwell on this aspect of MS as I have changed my opinion about the value of drug therapies.
However, I will mention a few notable treatments.
This post is about optimism, a rare commodity for one suffering from a chronic illness. But, maintaining an optimistic attitude can be one of the most important factors in improving your situation.
No matter how low you may feel, or how hard done by you think you have been. There is always someone in a worse predicament than you.
Starving Syrian Children
The news making the headlines while I write this post is about the poor, ill children of Damascus awaiting essential evacuation for medical treatment.
When we know about such dreadful suffering. We can surely have more optimism about our own prospects.
Optimism and Happiness can be good for your Health
I have long been a proponent of thinking positively. And, I firmly believe that an optimistic outlook is essential for each of us, whether we have a chronic illness or not.
Imagine my delight when I found The Healthy Exchange and their article on optimism supporting my beliefs.
Amongst their supporting research they claim those optimistic people:
- are physically more active, smoke less, moderate their alcohol intake and follow their doctor?s advic
- tend to have more friends and a larger social network.
- handle stress better
If you feel better about yourself, you will look after yourself, and you will feel better. It is almost a form of mind control.
If you think positively all of the time. You will influence your actions in a subtle way. You will make better food choices, better exercise choices and reap the benefits.
The Healthy Exchange offer 10 tips to increase optimism:
- Notice your negative Self-talk
- Capitalise on the power of positive thinking
- Reframe how you define events
- Focus on the here-and-now
- Be realistic and expect ups and downs
- Focus on what you can control and let go of things you cannot
- Set and pursue goals
- Be persistent
- Surround yourself with positive people
- Focus on the positive
To my mind, pardon the pun, the power of optimism is the almost subliminal way it can affect you.
But, if you actively look for the bright side of everything, that happens in your day. You will find the cheerful aspect of the most catastrophic events that befall you.
Cathartic Benefits are Rewarding
I tend to think that if something is cathartic, it is restful, relaxing and positive for the mind. If that is true, then optimism is most definitely cathartic.
However, if something is cathartic, it will be rewarding to your overall health. You will be more relaxed, with a more positive outlook. Problems will shrink and disappear.
Furthermore, you can already feel the positive vibes washing over you. Well, I certainly can feel the positivity. That’s because I am in the ZONE.
No, positive thinking is not just a catchy turn-of-phrase. It is a real mindset that can alter your prospects in everything from health to business success.
Positive thinking is more than just a tagline. It changes the way we behave. And I firmly believe that when I am positive, it not only makes me better, but it also makes those around me better.Harvey Mackay
For many years my mother drilled this into me; “Think positive, be positive“. I never appreciated how profound these statements really were. Not until much later in life and when I had been living with chronic illness for many years.
It was not until Multiple Sclerosis had started to worsen, to the point it was becoming disabling, that I knew that I had to take action.
However, I had tried a number of pharmaceutical remedies to no avail. I had been researching diet extensively.
And, with this newfound knowledge, I felt sure that I could tackle this disease head-on.
Furthermore, I now had the belief that I could do this.
The Power of Belief brings optimism and happiness
Remember the Inner Observer and the art of self-awareness. If you wish to be a positive thinker it is essential that you know what you are thinking and why you are thinking this way.
Many of us will associate belief with religious matters. And many millions of people around the world believe in their religion. For true believers, this is a way of life and is beyond question.
Belief can be a very powerful force and it is very difficult to change. Which is one of the reasons you need optimism and happiness.
However, this post is not the place for theological discussion or debate. You may believe in god, or you may believe there is no such thing as a god.
But, whichever opinion you hold, you do believe in something.
Therefore, you do have the ability to believe, we all do. So, you can turn this to your advantage, by believing in yourself.
Importance of Optimism and Happiness
Why does being happy matter? Feeling that you are happy will affect many of your decisions. Happiness will engender a positive attitude. And, a positive attitude will make anything possible.
Personally, I do not consider myself a happy person. I am content with my life. And, despite the tribulations of Multiple Sclerosis, I am fit and healthy. (Disregard the pain and the inability to walk)
Although having Multiple Sclerosis makes life a challenge. I am constantly researching the topic to improve my understanding. To find ways of improving my lifestyle to better contend with this disease.
While there are many routes to finding your way to good health. I believe that diet is critical to managing my autoimmune disease. I further believe that developing the right mindset is likely to play an equally important role.
Finally, optimism will come from a combination of positive thinking, self-awareness and a firm belief in yourself. If you get these things right, your happiness should come automatically.