Keeping a Healthy Mindset in the Midst of Illness

by Valarie Lovelight

Now that you’ve been diagnosed, you feel like no one understands what you’re feeling. You can’t see past the next 5 minutes let alone the next week. What does this mean? You ask yourself continually. What am I supposed to do now? As time passes, you might struggle to keep it together. It overwhelms you to think of how your life will be. It is difficult to keep a positive attitude when this happens. Looking on the bright side or finding a silver lining seems impossible.

     How do you keep a healthy mindset when you’re going through major life changes? Words of comfort aren’t comforting. They seem more like pity and who needs that right now? You want reassurance that everything will be alright. You will beat cancer because all of it can be removed. Or, it was a misdiagnosis. Hang in there.

     Truth is, no one can make you feel okay. No one can promise you everything will work out. Only you can decide that regardless of what’s happening, you will not allow it to rob you of the most meaningful things in your life. Cherish your family and friends while enjoying life no matter what happens. Make the most of the time you have and adapt to possible changes in your mind and body. With the exception of illnesses that affect your brain, you can and should fight to keep a healthy mindset. This is not for others, but for you.

     A healthy mindset doesn’t mean that you’re happy all the time. It doesn’t mean you walk around acting like everything is okay. This doesn’t mean you should ignore what you’re going through or that you’re ill. It means that regardless of diagnosis, treatment, and physical changes you choose to live regardless of the outcome.

     I’m amazed at the joy of some of the people I have encountered over the years. I remember one woman saying, “I’m dying not dead!” She didn’t look the picture of health but she was so pleasant and positive that other people in hospice enjoyed being around her. She refused to allow her circumstances to rob her of everything. She also said, “I can’t control the disease but I can control my attitude and how I handle it!” Those words were inspiring to me and one of the first lessons I learned about living on purpose.

     I want you and your loved ones to live on purpose. Regardless of the unforeseen obstacles, we may face in our lifetime, we don’t have to let them rob us of everything leaving us with nothing but broken memories and regrets. How will you go through life with a smile or a frown?

Hugs and Love!

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