It's difficult to be positive with a chronic illness like lupus, but being positive plays a huge role in fighting the disease.
When you have a chronic illness, it is so difficult to be positive. If you are in the middle of a lupus flare-up, it is normal to feel as if your life is at an end. However, allowing yourself to be negative all the time will cause lupus symptoms to be activated by the stress you create.
Maintaining a positive outlook will not happen immediately and being positive is something that is impossible to support all the time, but try a couple of ideas to step into a brighter view of your lupus diagnosis.
Health benefits of positivity
Once you understand how to change negative self-talk into positive thinking, it can help you in healing chronic diseases. Negative self-talk is demeaning, belittling or insulting internal messages you give yourself when you are frustrated or think you are failing. Negative messages are hurtful because they are based on judgment.
Would you allow your friends or family to talk this way to themselves? No. So become your own best friend and stop the negative self-talk. Just break the pattern and replace negativity with healing actions. Support yourself in healing chronic diseases like lupus. Healing begins from within, and you have control over your thoughts.
Try these techniques:
- Notice during the day when you talk negatively to yourself.
- Write down the circumstances that made you say negative things.
- Pick a recurring negative thought and turn it around into a healing action.
- If you find yourself saying, “I’m so stupid," cue yourself to notice why you said such a thing. When you catch yourself thinking about being stupid stop and say, “Why? Do you need a break, a treat, or a change of scene?" Then, take that action.
Negative self-talk is automatic thoughts; however, you can break the negative cycle and turn the negative into a positive. Negative thoughts can be a signal to find out what your body needs right at this moment. Turn negativity into a healing moment.
According to the Harvard Health Publications, reports and studies show that pessimists are three times more likely than optimists to have high blood pressure, heart attack, and develop chronic symptoms. Another study found pessimistic people had a 42% higher rate of death than those who are optimistic. This alone proves optimism can improve your longevity and overall health.
When looking for strategies that help you be positive, read positive quotes. You can find inspiring quote and pictures to put on your computer or wall or even our cell phone. Just looking at positivity is a good strategy.
Another strategy is being grateful. Life is chaotic, and health is unstable. If you can find things to be grateful for, you can get over these road bumps. Trying to make yourself a gratitude board. If you are in a moment of stress, look at your board and find something that makes you feel grateful.
A grateful board could be about people, experiences and things in your life that make you thankful. On your wall could be pictures of your family and friends. It's positive and happy to look at beautiful scenery, pets or the simple smile on a child’s face.
When you have lupus, it can be very difficult to think of positive and grateful things – especially when you are suffering from a flare-up.
Take another stand and think of things that have come out of your lupus symptoms that have enriched your life. Try these techniques and think about:
- Do I now have new interests?
- Are my relationships with friends, family, and my companion strengthened?
- Have I learned to let others help me?
- Do I take better care of myself now?
- Do I have a better understanding of who I am?
These thoughts and techniques are not entirely cheerful, but they are positives that can and will make you feel better.
What do you do when you have bad days?
Everyone with lupus is going to have a very bad day. The pain and suffering will be intense. Even a friendly hug will cause you to shrink. What can you do to stop these thoughts?
Don’t linger in your negative space. Try these tactics:
- Go for a walk to get your mind off your pain. Even if you have to take baby steps and walk slow, just getting outside can help ease your negativity.
- Try playing on your favorite must and disappearing into the melodies.
- Find a movie on TV that will distract you. Distraction works very well for a group of friends who have various autoimmune diseases. They laugh, talk, and just forget themselves in the movie.
- Do something kind for someone else. Kindness is an awesome tactic.
Your life is definitely changed with a diagnosis of lupus. It is almost impossible to think about the future and especially a future without pain. Begin a positive outlook, remember that lupus does not mean that your life is hopeless.
Have something to look forward to each day. It might not be huge like finishing a degree; it could be only walking down the street and back without stopping. Just have a starting point.
Write down your personal goal and work toward that goal one step at a time. Remember you are more than lupus. It is a chronic disease that has no cure. Accept it and do something about it. Choose to be positive, and your mental, plus physical health will improve.
“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” – Francis of Assisi