At some point, you have to stop ‘surviving’ and start living. As my health is slowly, but surely getting better, I have been focusing on how to feel better both physically, and mentally and I found my secret to happiness.
The reason I used the word ‘my’ instead of ‘the’, is because it is not going to be the same for every person. The trick is to actually take time to figure out what is important to you, and what makes you feel fulfilled. One of the biggest problems I have when I feel really crummy is that I start to question everything. I question why I am here, along with everything else. This is most likely the depression caused by my disease talking, but nevertheless, it makes me even more depressed when I have these thoughts. It is a spiral I have wanted to learn how to avoid since I was diagnosed in 2000 and I think I have figured out how to do it. It doesn’t mean I never get sad when I am in pain or really tired, it just means I know how to deal with it and not let it spiral into depression.
My equation for happiness is (-? + X = :)) and I’ll explain this for all of you who don’t like puzzles. For the first part of the equation, one of the things I have noticed that I do often is question every sensation that I have. It can be good to notice when something doesn’t feel right, but it is bad to obsess over it and wonder how much worse it will get, or what it means for the future. For example, if I feel numbness in my hand, I start to wonder if it will stop working soon, or other similar thoughts and this is not helpful. The fact is, it doesn’t matter; the disease will do what it is going to do and worrying about future problems will not change the outcome. It just stresses me out, which takes time away from anything productive I could be doing. It is actually really bad for the disease to be stressed so I have been learning to stop questioning things.
The second part of the equation is exercise. I have learned that I have to do it first thing in the morning when I have energy, but I also have to not worry too much about getting worn out later in the day. It is one thing to not push too hard, but to not exercise at all because I am worried about the pain that may come is a disservice. Not only do I need to remain physically strong, exercise is the one thing I do just for myself that makes me feel great.
I challenge you to find your happiness equation. It is such a relief to start living instead of surviving!