7 Tips For Living A Happy Life With Chronic Illness Using Patient Education and Counseling

How do you live with all the chronic illness you have experienced over the years? You have been through so much and yet you are so positive and so upbeat? How do you do it? This is a question my family and I get asked all the time. I come from a very large family and over the past 49 years we have experienced several severe chronic illnesses. Illnesses like cancers, heart disease, heart bypass and valve replacement surgeries, heart failure, type 1 diabetes, blindness, mental illness, bowl reconstruction, kidney disease and transplant surgery, dialysis, chronic infections, pneumonia, lung collapses,taps and removals and amputations just to name a few. During this time my family and I have learned to live with these conditions and live a mostly happy life. What is the secret?There is no magic bullet or pill that will make all of this emotional and mental stress you may experience go away. The truth is no one can make the sadness and the pain vanish, no one except you! Most people don’t understand where feelings are born. People think “I can’t control how I feel, things happen and I just feel.” The problem is that they are wrong. The greatest discovery in the study of the mind is that every feeling that a human has ever had is a direct result of a thought. Therefore, we think, we feel and then we react. This is how the electrical impulses and neurons and transmitters in the brain function. Don’t believe me? Try this experiment. One night when you are sitting by yourself I want you to think “Someone is outside looking in the window.” Say it a couple of times and I guarantee within a few minutes you’ll be “feeling” nervous. You will wind up getting up to check and see who is outside. You will be looking for the person you just created in your mind a few moments ago.Now you will say, “OK, how does that help me deal with the stress I am feeling do to my illness?” Here is how it works. You are diagnosed, you leave the doctor’s office and start filling your head with the following thoughts- I’m sick, I don’t know what’s going to happen, I’m in trouble, I’m scared, I’m dying, things are really bad. Your brain transmits these thoughts to the part of the brain that creates feelings and vole’ you’re feeling scared, frightened, depressed and sad. Nothing physically has changed from the time you entered the doctor’s office to the time you left it, yet you are “feeling” traumatized.The secret? You have to learn how to think properly. Yes you have pain and a lot on your plate and you may have a long bumpy road ahead, but how is thinking sad and depressed thoughts going to make you feel better? The answer, it won’t! You have to train yourself how to think correctly. You have to learn how to take control of your mind. Here is a list of things you can do to help you start thinking correctly.1. First and foremost do your homework! Understand anything and everything you can about your illness and its treatments. Knowledge is power. Doing this will give you a feeling of confidence and will put you more in control of your situation.2. Tied for 1st. don’t live in denial and run around pretending everything’s fine and not acknowledging you have an illness. Do this and you may find yourself in another hospital. Yes you are sick and yes it is going to be scary at times. What you have to remember is that it doesn’t have to be that way all the time.3. Practice, practice, practice. I recommend every morning that you count your blessings. Run through your head all the wonderful things you have to be thankful for in this life. Exp- I have a roof over my head, I have friends and family who love me, I can think and walk and talk, I have food on my table, I have a God in heaven who loves me, I love me I am a good person. These are some of the ones that I use. Yours may be different. Then meditate in complete silence for at least 20 minutes, pray after you are done meditating. It is so important to start your day on a positive note. Then throughout your day keep reminding yourself of all the good things in your life. Try this instead of waking up and thinking “I am sick, I am in pain, I am going to die and life sucks.” We all know what road these thoughts are going to take you down. Depression, sadness, fear, frustration and anger.4. Research how the mind and the subconscious mind work and how you can control your thoughts and therefore your feelings. Read books, get on the internet and make this a part of your recovery and treatment plan.5. Remember, you are not alone and you aren’t the first one to go through this. Find a support group and make contact with them. Utilize all that they have to offer. These people have already been through what you’re experiencing and they will be able to steer you in the right direction. They will also be able to keep you from making the same mistakes they made.6. (Caveat to 5) Stay away from negative people. Negative people and negative thoughts are 10 times stronger than positive. Think about it, you are in a group of 10 and 9 love you and 1 hates you. You are bound to sit and worry about why that 1 person doesn’t like you. Stay away from negative people.7. Don’t waste the time you have now, this moment right now, worrying about something that may or may not happen in the future. It is a waste of your precious time you have now. If you choose to do this, sitting around thinking worrisome thoughts about your illness, then the disease/illness wins. Ask yourself this question “What good does it do you? How does it help make you feel better?”