I have been very public about my own wellness journey and the struggles that I have encountered along the way. I’ve posted articles about my diet, my meditation practice, my first experience with acupuncture, and all sorts of other topics that relate to my health. I’ve even posted a bunch of tips to consider after being diagnosed with an illness. What I haven’t done is discuss how I’ve dealt with the emotional toll of being diagnosed with a medical condition. It’s a disconcerting and frightening time, especially at the beginning. Even the most level-headed person can fall into the trap of imagining worst case scenarios and horrific outcomes. It’s not a good place to be. It is far better to be in a place of hope and positivity, and that is the goal—to make your way to an emotionally comfortable place following a medical diagnosis or any kind of life struggle.
Your struggle may not be an illness— Maybe you’ve lost your job, or maybe you work three jobs as a single parent to make ends meet. Maybe you’re caring for a sick relative, or maybe you’re overwhelmed at work or stuck in a job that you dislike. Whatever your struggle is, I’m confident that you can manage your way through the muck and live a fulfilling life that feels purposeful and worthwhile.
Here are my top tips for helping you navigate the choppy waters. This is how I’ve dealt with all of the major struggles that I’ve faced in life, and I hope you can find inspiration here to continue moving forward.
- Determine what good can arise from the situation. This is a tough one, but I believe it’s a necessary step in overcoming any challenging circumstance. You might have been dealt a terrible hand, but you need to play it. Your situation may be painful and seem insurmountable right now. It might be difficult to imagine anything good coming out of the struggle, but try to make a list. Can there be any purpose in the pain? Will this struggle help you prioritize what is truly important in life? Will you live each day with more clarity and purpose because you are being faced with this struggle? Will you be able to advocate for others with a strong voice as a result of facing this situation yourself? Will your struggle force you to slow down and find beauty in simple everyday acts? Will you overhaul destructive habits and adopt a healthier lifestyle as a result of your struggle? Will you help your family become stronger as a result of them witnessing your strength during this trying time? Make a list, and see that goodness can flow right out of a not-so-good situation.
- Maintain a positive attitude. This tip goes hand-in-hand with the previous tip. You must change your thinking. Once you can find purpose in your struggle, or at least something positive that might arise as a result of your struggle, it becomes easier to stay upbeat. Yes, you need to mourn whatever it is that you’ve lost (your good health, a family member, your life savings, your job, etc), but you can’t stay in a deep dark place forever. You have a choice to send positive energy or negative energy out into the world, and I know that you can keep it positive. Remind yourself often that you are strong and capable. Remind yourself that the mind is a powerful tool. You can convince yourself that you are too tired and too weak to overcome your circumstance or you can create a positive environment and talk yourself right into a better mindset where you feel empowered. The choice is yours, and it is up to you to make the right choice.
- Take control of your health. There is so much that we cannot control about our health, but fortunately, there is a tremendous amount that we can control. Don’t allow a medical diagnosis to crush your spirit. Don’t give up on your body. Do some research and get inspired by natural remedies and foods that can help you feel better. Regardless of the nature of your current life struggle, you can change your diet, implement a daily exercise program, and begin a regular meditation practice to lower stress levels. You can reduce systemic inflammation, boost your immune system, strengthen your bones and muscles, improve the quality of your skin, and generally feel much better than you’d otherwise feel if you gave no thought to your health habits. Get on the wellness bandwagon. You won’t regret it.
- Help someone else. When you hit rock bottom, it’s hard to think about helping someone else. After all, how can you help someone else if you can barely figure out how to help yourself? I understand, and I get it. But I also know that the tendency during a personal struggle is to focus on me, me, me. Yes, it’s warranted, but it’s also healthy to focus on something else that is worthwhile, and something that will also give you a greater perspective on life. Maybe you won’t have the time to volunteer at the local shelter or organize a fundraiser, and that’s ok… but you’re not off the hook. Figure out another way to be of service to someone else. This may be as simple as joining a support group and sharing your experience with someone else going through the same struggle. Sharing your experience and providing your own unique perspective can be inspiring and helpful to someone else.
- Sleep. What can I say? I didn’t believe it for a long time, but a good night of sleep can do a lot to transform your state of mind. Feeling blue? Exhausted? Too overwhelmed to even call a friend? Go to bed, and make sure to get plenty of rest. Healing on many levels occurs overnight. It will all seem a bit more manageable in the morning.