Martina Roe: Seven Strategies (5)

Rubrika: Publicistika – Zajímavosti

7 Strategies how to cope with illness or disability

1. Allow yourself time to come to terms with your illness
2. You are not alone – make most of all help and support groups
3. Nurture yourself
4. Learn how you can best help yourself feel better
5. Concentrate on the present, do not dwell in the past or worry about the future
6. Learn how to live a stress free life
7. You are the maker of your own luck

Illness and disability might come in many forms. Some illnesses and disabilities have to be faced from birth; others are developed during people’s lifetime. They can come on suddenly or gradually develop over many years without the person knowing about it. People are usually genetically predisposed but illnesses can also be the result of the polluted environment or the lifestyle we adopt. Coming to terms with any illness is not easy and might take a long time especially when your illness surprises you suddenly.
Imagine that you are happy, your life is going very well and you are very proud of all your achievements. You have got a great family and circle of friends until one day something very unfortunate happens to you. You become ill or have an accident and you can no longer enjoy life as you used to. Suddenly everything seems to be falling apart. All kinds of scenarios may come up; you might no longer be in a position to support your family financially, you could lose your job, simply your dreams are falling apart. This is the hardest time and naturally you will be down about it, yet with a few changes you might still be able to live your life to the full. The following easy steps should help you in the right direction. 

5. Concentrate on the present, do not dwell in the past or worry about the future

Have you caught yourself ever saying, “If this did not happen I would not get myself in the state I am in? I should have done things differently and so on?” Such claims might or might not be correct, but it doesn’t really matter. The important thing is that you try to ignore such thoughts because they will not help you advance in your life. You might be experiencing pain because someone has wronged you in the past. I have friends who are constantly reminding their parents how badly they brought them up or how they never had time for them. Some of these accusations might be true, others are not really justified, but that is not important. What matters is that we should let go of these feelings of hurt otherwise we shall always feel grudge against others and it will not help us advance in our mutual relationship. In any case as something, which happened in the past and can no longer be changed, there is not much point trying to change it. So if we really want to improve our relationship with anybody, we should concentrate on ways how it could be improved. 
I know people, who as children were sexually abused and are not able to rid themselves of these bad memories. If they want to move on in life, it is necessary for them to forgive. Naturally the process of forgiving is not an easy one, but if they cannot put these bad experiences behind  they will live their lives full of anger and images of what once happened to them will haunt them all the time. Such feelings of anger can sometimes completely dominate your life making you even ill. For your own sake it is important to let go off these ill feelings, this will naturally not be easy and you might need to seek help from a psychiatrist or a counsellor.
You cannot forget but you have to forgive so you can live a happier and more fulfilling life. If you ever experience disturbing thoughts from the past you can keep saying to yourself. “What happened in the past happened, I let it go, I shall now put it behind me and concentrate on the present. There are good things for me to build on so I can achieve my dream one day.” Another good way to free you of these energy consuming feelings is to write down anything you would like to say to the person who has done harm to you. As you are doing so, imagine all your anger to spread into the paper. Do not read it again but instead burn it on a fire, in other words destroy it completely. If the same feelings haunt you again, repeat this process till you are completely restored and you feel peace to return.  
The present is the most important part of your life. Take a moment to reflect on how you feel. Can you experience the “here and now? Can you sit down for 5 minutes to be in a calm state concentrating on deep breaths without any thoughts spreading to your mind? Unless you practised this kind of meditation before I am sure you found this exercise difficult. Meditation techniques are very beneficial because they help us discover more who we are. That is not an easy matter in today’s extremely stressful society. Apart from these benefits they also help strengthen our immune systems.
Reflect now on the thoughts, which were springing into your mind. Did you worry about your problems for which you have no answer? This is completely normal. As a result of your illness or disability you might have less power to influence matters in your life. I myself sometimes worry that I shall not be able to deal with some very stressful events. But such worries are useless; they will only make my life more difficult and I am learning not to worry about anything that might go wrong in the future. Worrying only helps us to let our concerns come alive. Mothers often fear their children might catch a cold and would not let them play with cold water. Youngsters often have better circulation than adults and do not feel the cold so much.
So the problem arises that parents actually force their children to wear warm clothes while they do not need them. In such situations it is always better to take the jumper in your rucksack, rather than force children to put it on.   Children do not catch a cold because they felt chilly or got wet even though this might increase their chances of becoming ill. The offender is usually a virus that spreads quickly in closed rooms and everybody catches it at the same time. Some people always complain about rain, yet it is their hostile attitude that makes them more uncomfortable. At the end of the day some droplets are only beneficial for us in the same way as walking barefoot in the wet morning grass.
Do not worry about what will happen in the future. Naturally you want to plan your future and want to see where you will get one day. Your dream can, however, only materialise if you set yourself small achievable goals, on which you will work day by day. My grandmother lived to be nearly 95 years old. It is a beautiful age that everyone would be proud of. As a small child I always wished to have a very long life, but I am aware that because of my illness the likelihood of it happening is very small.
But then what does it matter. I am hypothesizing about something, which would be happening a long time away from now. Instead I rather concentrate on this very moment making sure that I am enjoying life to the full, that I give the right support and guidance to my children and that I can see them grow into responsible citizens. Even though your life is or seems to you to be much harder than anybody else’s do not imagine it to be harder. In our actions we often follow what our mind tells us to do. Make sure you give it positive commands.
Do not dwell in the past
·         Forgive those who have wronged you
·         Do not worry about what could go wrong in the future – just let anxiety and worry go and allow reality to happen instead
·         Do not believe things will end badly 

Obraz Víry naděje © Zdeněk Hajný, www.cestykesvě

Tento článek byl v Pozitivních novinách poprvé publikován 25. 02. 2009.