I recently read The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. The story is told from the point of view of Enzo, the beloved dog/companion to Denny, a race car driver. (Warning! Tears may be frequent!)
In addition to taking you on a roller-coaster ride of emotions, you glean some invaluable driving tips. The tip that most applies to this post is, “The car goes where the eyes go.” Similarly, I think we go where our thoughts go.
It’s important to notice what’s not working well, but it’s made a bigger difference to me to notice what IS working well. How often are you appreciative of your good days and all the small things that help to keep you mobile? (I’ve written about many of those things over the course of this blog. When I was first diagnosed thirty-five years ago, very little was available in terms of assistive devices and assistance, for that matter.) I’ve even learned to appreciate my not-so-good days, though it has taken some practice!
You can get bogged down (depressed, anxious, upset, angry…) about your condition, which only serves to trigger the stress response. Learning to transform your stress is a key factor in self-management.
My only wish is that I had this information when I was first diagnosed. Perhaps I could have averted a lot of the joint destruction that I have. The great news is that you can take advantage of all this information and put it to work for you.
The first step is to develop an awareness of your thoughts. Then learn how to re-direct your thinking and feeling by replacing it with something more constructive, like implementing heart-based stress techniques that not only transform your stress, but also serve to enhance your performance. Repeat often.
Change your perspective and learn to find what you’re looking for – stable or improved health!