This post has long been on my mind but I just haven't been sure how to address it. Should I go on personal experience or look for research to back me up? After thinking long and hard, I am going with my personal experience with the option of adding to this topic later on if necessary.
So what topic could be so confusing? How attitude and thought can influence your health. As someone who was diagnosed with a long term condition that causes widespread pain, fatigue and some very odd symptoms, I have found that attitude can play a huge factor in your health.
When I was loosely diagnosed in 2010 (meaning without many tests or eliminating other potential problems), one of the first things I did was go out to find a support group on line. Why? Because I had so many symptoms at the time that did not fit into the fibromyalgia stereotype that the doctor went over. I found a great group that helped me see that even if my symptoms weren't listed in a standard set of fibro symptoms, others with the condition did indeed suffer from similar issues to mine.
It was while on this support group that I had contact with one amazing woman. She has had fibro for many, many years. She was very supportive and very positive in every interaction. What I learned from her is this: You are in charge of how you live your life.....regardless of what challenges are thrown in your way. When I began making changes to my life to deal with my fibro, this was one change that I knew I needed to make.
Today instead of waking up every morning and "taking stock" of how I feel, I just get up and start moving. I don't focus on the pain, on what I cannot do, what limitations I might face that day. Instead I enjoy what I do get to do. I find some positive in each and every day. If I am having a flare, well then I get to have a lazy day and catch up on some of my dvr'd shows while snuggling with my dogs. I enjoy that quiet time instead of cursing the fact that I don't feel well.
I have strayed away from support groups......I find that while it is a great place to realize you are not alone in your struggles and to vent your frustrations but too many focus only on the negative aspects and so many posts are so negative. I realized that these individuals are so focused on the negatives, on the pain, on the bad that they no longer enjoy the little things. One support group asks each day what your pain level is today. How depressing that you stop and think about what level your pain is every single day. I believe that when you focus on something like that, you then focus on the pain and it then becomes a huge factor in your life.
Since I have made all of my changes, I have maybe 3-4 bad flares a year. That is something I can live with. Is it easy to find the positive when life is constantly throwing challenges your way? Definitely not. I often have to stop myself during the day and remind myself to find something positive to focus on. It is so worth while though. I now notice things that before I would have ignored-- how the snowflakes dance in the wind, how good the sun can feel streaming in through the windows during the winter, that first flower peeking through the dirt in the spring. And I am thankful that I get to spend another enjoyable day with my family......