PUTTING THE FOCUS ON POSITIVE CHANGE
The theme of Change continues and if there’s ever a season for change, it’s Spring! I mention Spring in my April newsletter, so if you’re not signed up to receive this once a month info-packed missive, be sure to do so now. Sign up here. I’ll be sure to get the newsletter out to you as soon as possible. (Hint — don’t miss out on the special freebie offered in this issue — it’s only available for a short time!)
When it comes to change, do you go for the quickie or one that’s long and drawn out? How did you handle this question as a kid? Did you rip off the Band-aid lickety-split or slowly filet it back, pulling off one arm hair at a time?
That says a lot about you right there. We learn behaviors early on that are intended to protect us for the rest of our lives. We learn how to act slowly (with extreme caution and planning) and how to act decisively (with confidence and finality).
As adults, the trouble is in knowing which action is called for.
One clue to this mystery is taking a look at the end result. In the instance of the Band-aid, experience tells you that the boo boo will be OK once the Band-aid is removed. That experience would give you the incentive to rip it off quickly.
Think about the changes you’re facing right now. Do you know the end result? Most of us don’t. So, here’s my point. We don’t know what’s necessarily in store, but we do know what we want to have happen. So why not focus on that?
That’s the whole deal — FOCUS.
Here’s my formula:
+ DESIRED END RESULT
= SWIFT AND DECISIVE ACTION
Take a look at your desired outcome (job change, weight change, behavior change, etc.) and imagine, pray, and/or meditate on what needs to happen to make that change. Focus on the details of how that change happens. Make lists, journal, create schedules – whatever you need to do.
Focus on yourself completing a big project and getting a raise or promotion. Focus on buying healthier foods, making tasty and nutrition meals, and achieving your weight management goals. Focus on being more patient with others, on mending strained relationships, on being more patient and kind to yourself. Focus on your inner thoughts and notice their negative or positive nature. YOU get to choose what to think!
If you’d like to learn more about how change can help you to heal, check out my book, FibroWHYalgia. In it, I chronicle my own changes as I learned about the causes of chronic illness (fibromyalgia, arthritis, diabetes, lupus, etc.). I detail how I eventually made change happen. And the result? I now live a nearly pain-free life and consider fibromyalgia to be a blessing rather than a burden.
So, in a nutshell, focus on the positive change you want to see and watch the positive results follow.
Tell me what you think! What”s your focus this week? You CAN make positive changes happen!
Always ripped that band aid off slow because it hurt less! Great blog, Sue!
I’ve got so many health problems and limitations – esp. since we dealt w/the emotional/physical/financial stress of getting our house fixed up for a year and putting it on the market the following year last spring (it didn’t sell). My dr. said I’d been going thru the equivalent of having a gun held to my head all that time. I get stressed easily, and injured easily, and went thru 10-hr. cleaning sprees for each viewing/open house.
I ended up, in addition to my fibromyalgia, with Stevens-Johnson syndrome (which means no inti-inflammatories – great for my arthritis!), some serious, expensive tooth abscesses, I got erosive arthriits, necessitating $1000 worth of orthotics, shoes, etc., and swollen, painful finger joints.
Since my back pain prevents me from going to hand therapy; ditto water therapy, and I’m constantly having to cancel dr./etc. appts., and my back, knees and shoulders keep getting worse (I’ll need another knee replaced and prob. another shoulder surgery),
I began praying regularly for the first time in my life. I realized I had to take a more proactive approach to getting myself better and change some bad habits. There’s only so much meds, Pt’s and drs. can do. I also realized my lifelong negative attitude and learned helplessness and constant focusing on/ fear of my pain were making things much worse.
I began doing my old PT exercises for my shoulder and quickly realized I had to restart much more slowly ’cause I made it worse. (“No pain, no gain” doesn’t apply to fibromyalgia!) I began walking regularly – tho my ortho. surgeon said no walking, my back need to get out of my chair and MOVE. Started out w/1 block, and can usually to ptjer my drs’ imposed limit of 4 blocks. Sometimes can only go one, but at least I’m trying..
I’m also trying to limit my computer use; i’d been staying up til 3-4 a.m. (4-5 hrs.) most nights ’cause that’s when I felt best and it was, for me, the equivalent of “window shopping,” which I can rarely do. The solution? GET MY HUSBAND TO TAKE THE COMPUTER UP WITH HIM WHEN HE WENT TO BED! Bad for back, hands and messed up my biological clock so wasn’t getting good sleep so important for fibro.
Been told by all my drs. that i need to start meditating, or doing relaxation exercises, or something to slow/calm me down. So I brought out our thick twin-size mattress topper and use it for exercising, deep breathing, and laying on my side when I can’t take the pain anymore. Doesn’t do much for living room looks, but who cares?
Still have other changes I need to make – (1) diet (diabetes, cholesterol), (2) knowing when to stop and rest instead of pushing myself even when in excruciating pain (something as little as dusting a room, cleaning bathroms, no-no’s like helping w/the yard and garden, or running a few errands). I do it because there’s such a burden on my husband already; he does so much and is tired a lot. But he’s told me he’d rather do something himself than hear me moan and groan about my aches and pains, He’s practically a saint for putting up with my problems, whining and medical costs for 37 years. (3) Try not to feel so frustrated when I see all the things that need to be done – it’s hard to just accept and get over the fact that I can’t do so much when it hurts me later, but it’s critical if i want to heal and not continuously do more than my body can handle.
Finally, yes, you’re absolutely right that a positive attitude (and faith,and hope) are critical to either getting more healthy, or at least accepting what you can’t change, changing what you can, and not blaming yourself.
Another important thing I learned recently (with the help of my friends) was how much more important it is to call or visit or ask for help from friends, to return weeks-old calls instead of just focusing on my “to-do” list. I hate the phone, but when people reach out to you it’s important to stay in touch with them.
“Love,” as many people know, is very healing. When I had to call several friends for backrubs or favors when my husbad was out of town, I found them eager to help. And when I’m visiting with them, I notice I don’t even think about the pain anymore. This was a big realization to a “loner” like me. As for family, (I live on the opposite side of the country), the older I and my siblings get, I’ve been wanting to reach out to them more and, instead of just talking about my health problems (my main focus in life, being at home on disability), I want to find out what’s going on in their lives. I’m getting on Facebook soon, which should help,
i had kind of an “epiphany” one morning recently when I woke up and realized I’m 61 and wondered, “Is this the best it’s going to get for the last 10-15 years of my life?” I suddenly realized my husband and I need more joy in our lives, and less focus on health and money problems. I think he got my point, because he’s changing already. Nothing like constant health and money worries to make life a real drag.
No matter what my husband (and son) have to do to change our attitudes and behaviors and ways of relating to each other, I/we are determined to find ways to enjoy life and have some fun and joy. My 33-year-old son has actually been helping me learn to stop talking about myelf so much, and to talk more softly. i’m so proud of him
If i can get over my fear of pain, find ways to strengthen my body, relax/deep breathe or whatever I have to do to get thru it while at a movie or joining friends at a concert of restaurant, (which they keep begging me to do) I’m hoping we can spend what time we have left learning to find joy and appreciation of even small things, and for once have some fun instead of constant worrying. But it’s up to me, not my doctors and other medical professionals.
Laurie — I’m so glad you wrote your lovely comment here. Your words will resonate with so many others. There’s a great benefit to sharing your deepest concerns/worries/joys/hopes. Sharing them helps others to chime in and help you and also realize what, exactly, you’re going through. I pray that you continue to reach out and please know that you’ve already done so much. Your healing will continue and please know that your future looks very bright 😉
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