Happy Happy Joy Joy

Or Trying To Find and Hold Onto Happiness When You Have Chronic Pain…

A positive outlook is absolutely mandatory when you have a chronic illness of some sort. It’s also the hardest thing in the world to sustain. The first thing you need to learn is that your thoughts influence your body. Negative thoughts can actually suppress your immune system, not great if your immune system is already compromised. So you need to consider happiness your new priority.

The second thing you need to learn is that you aren’t going to be happy every day. We all have highs and lows and it’s harder to maintain a smile when you feel awful. So give yourself a break sometimes. Feel what you need to feel but then let it go. That’s the key. Let it go. I struggle with this a lot. I’m a classic over thinker and worrier so I get it if it seems impossible to follow this bit of advice. But do your best. Distract yourself if need be. I like Netflix for that.

The third thing you need to learn is to take joy in the little things. Don’t expect full on bliss. But going out for a coffee with a friend or a hug from your kid can feel pretty great, right? Adjust your expectations for life. You aren’t going to be able to do all of the things you used to do or maybe the things you want to but you still can do some things. It’s just different things now. Sometimes there’s a mourning period that goes along with this. I feel it affects people more the younger they are, of course. Do what you need to to release this. You still can do fun things! You just have to get a bit more creative about it.

The last thing I feel you need to learn is to ask for help when you need it. Don’t be a martyr. Don’t suffer silently. There are people around you who love you and who want to be let in. They want to help. They want you to be happy. Let them help you to be happy. When you deprive someone of the joy of helping you, it’s one of the most selfish things you can do. Remember that.

I wish you joy.

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