Our thoughts influence our being. The stories we tell ourselves frame our reality. They affect the decisions we make, our behaviors, and ultimately our overall mindset. These serve to either nourish or starve our psyche.
If we are what we eat, then are we what we think? Absolutely. We cannot help but ascribe to the words we tell ourselves. This can be difficult when MS is our constant travel companion. When negative feelings such as pain and sadness dominate, how can we feed our souls?
Be patient with yourself. This is a marathon, not a sprint. The road to acceptance is a continuum. The goalposts change as this disease progresses. It is healthy to honor feelings such as anger and grief. It is healing to then challenge yourself to find an alternative. What feeling or emotion could better serve you? Write these positive words down on sticky notes throughout your home. As you see them, visualize a time in your life you felt this way. What can you do to bring this back? This can invite a balance on even the most difficult days.
Be kind to both yourself and others. I have found this the most powerful elixir. Doing something for someone else is powerful. Never underestimate your ability to bring goodness into the life of another. I love to volunteer with animal rescue. If I cannot do an event, I might make phone calls or respond to emails. I think of friends or family who could use a handwritten card. I might even put some flowers in a bunch for a neighbor. You have the amazing ability to make a difference. Cheer yourself through each of these challenges.
Choose your thoughts. This is such a powerful tool to retrain your brain. I do this proactively in an effort to hold a healthier mindset. I follow each negative thought with a positive. “I am in pain” may be followed by “I am grateful I can stay home today.” These action steps invite my mind to follow suit. This process has now become innate. Behavior is learned. Never doubt your ability to be both teacher and student.
We cannot ignore the elephant in the room. We have MS. This is our lifelong companion. But you are not your MS. It is imperative to distinguish your disease from your identity. The joys, the milestones, the loves, and the adventures are still you. MS can never take those from you. I found it helpful to accept the MS. I tried so long to resist its presence. This only made the elephant larger. In addressing it, I was able to extinguish the fear.
Ultimately, we are in this together. You are not alone in any of your stinking thinking. When the chatter gets loud, take an action step. Envision a dimmer switch. Every time your thoughts become too loud, dim the switch. Imagine the pleasant din of quiet in its place. If you are so inclined, invite a positive thought to take its place.
Nourish your psyche. Starve the MS.
Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.
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