Before I jump into how I found ways to live a more positive life, even in the face of chronic illness, I want to introduce myself. I’m Shannon of Simply Shannonagins, a lifestyle and wellness blog focused on living your best life despite sometimes insurmountable challenges.
So now that you know a little bit about me, I want to talk about finding positivity in the face of incurable illness. I know that doesn’t exactly sounds “positive”, but hear me out. The fact is, many illnesses are incurable. I personally live with fibromyalgia and interstitial cystitis every day. These are considered “chronic” illnesses because there are no cures, just management strategies. That’s not negativity; it’s just simply reality. But luckily there are management methods and symptom treatments. Through these, as well as complete lifestyle changes, I’ve managed to get my symptoms under control and am now back to living a somewhat normal life. For that, I am incredibly grateful.
Another thing I’m grateful for is the new mindset I’ve developed through this healing process. While I remain realistic about the lack of cures for both of my conditions, and many other chronic illnesses out there, I am optimistic about ways I can make my life as good as possible, despite sometimes debilitating symptoms. And I am also optimistic about the possibility of remission, which is an incredibly exciting prospect.
For my guest post here at Succeed Now, I want to share what I’ve learned through my chronic illness journey. No, not everyone deals with chronic illness in his or her lives, but everyone has challenges. Everyone deals with hard times. And I think it’s important to know that, regardless of what you’re going through right now, or what you have gone through, life will get better. I know it’s hard, but developing and practicing a positive mindset is incredibly helpful for working through hard times and coming out on the other side stronger than ever. That’s why I want to share some tools with you that have helped me. It was through my hard times, and through necessity, that I developed and learned these tools. And honestly, they saved me. That’s why I want to share them with you!
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I’m sure you’ve heard about or read about journaling as a self-care practice. Honestly, it’s everywhere. But that’s because it truly works! Journaling is a great way to reflect on your day, your feelings, and your goals. You don’t have to write pages and pages of thoughts, and your journal doesn’t have to be one of those fancy bullet journals that’s all over Pinterest (even though they are gorgeous!), journaling can be whatever you want it to be.
I specifically use journaling in a few ways. Sometimes, I reflect on the events of a day, writing about what was good and bad, and how I reacted to it. It’s a great way to analyze why you may be feeling a certain way or react in a certain way to different events. Another thing I use my journal for is setting monthly intentions. Some call them goals or resolutions, but for me, they’re intentions. By writing down things I want to do, feel, practice, etc. in the upcoming month, I’m able to focus more on developing a life I love, regardless of how I feel. Plus, if you do stick with an intention all month, there’s a huge sense of accomplishment, which is very empowering.
I’m big on gratitude. I think that regardless of your current state or struggles, there is always something to be grateful for. That is why I have developed a daily gratitude practice. At some point during every day, usually towards the end of the day, I reflect on the things I can be grateful for. Sometimes it’s the little things, like having a delicious meal or getting to spend time with a friend. Other times, it’s bigger things, like having a roof over my head or the incredible support my family shows me. I’ve even had times where it’s more unconventional things, like my illnesses themselves for turning me into the person I am now. This is a personal and informal practice, but I find it incredibly powerful. I also try to spread the gratitude attitude with my followers and readers. Every Monday, on the Simply Shannonagins Instagram page, I share something that I’m grateful for to start the week on a positive note. And I ask me readers to do the same. I’ve noticed a huge difference in my weekly attitude overall as a result.
Even on my worst health days, I have learned to make a point to spend some time outside. It doesn’t have to involve any activity. Sometimes, it’s just as simple as sitting on my back porch or lying in the grass. But getting fresh air and feeling the sunshine on my face have a way of helping me feel like everything is good. Or, if not everything is good, there still is good in the world. It can be really hard to look past pain and fatigue to see the beauty in each day, but when you put the beauty right in front of your face by being out in nature, it’s a bit easier. I know that our current society can make it hard to spend time outside. If you have an office job, try to eat your lunch outside or go for a walk on your break. If you’re living in a city, try to find a park where you love to spend time. Regardless of the current state of your life, spending a little time outdoors can really change your whole mood. And who knows? It may even change your life.
I honestly wish I didn’t have to go through my lowest health low to find my most positive mindset. But the fact of the matter is, I’m grateful that I did. After spending months in bed, feeling terrible with worsening depression, I decided that I didn’t want to feel that way anymore. Obviously, I was doing all that I could to feel as good as possible physically. I still am (and it’s working). But I knew that I could have more control over how I felt if I took control over my mindset.
I’m not going to lie to you and say that I don’t have bad days. I definitely do. We all do. I have days that the depression is debilitating and I can barely leave my room. But even on those days, if I can shake it off even just a little, using the tools I mentioned above, I know that I’ve won. My positive mindset has won. And it’s amazing how empowering that is.
Shannon develops healthy (but delicious) recipes, with my specialty being sweet snacks, and write posts about all aspects of wellness. This includes mental health, chronic illness, positivity, products I love, and so much more. To learn more about my blog and me head over to Simply Shannonagins and check it out! I’d love to have you!
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