About two years ago, I was diagnosed with an incurable degenerative neurological condition. My symptoms were many. They were physical, emotional and cognitive. I was not in a good place. I knew enough to see that I needed help. Thanks to learning I stumbled upon, I was able to slowly drag myself (sometimes kicking and screaming) to where I am today. It was a struggle and I still have my challenges, but I have a renewed sense of hope I’ve never had before.
The first step I took – which I didn’t know I was taking at the time – is a commitment to change my thinking. I now know that if I want to change my results, I must change my behaviour. Before that, I must change my feelings. And in order to change my feelings, I must be mindful of the way I think. Here’s how I changed my mind and continue to grow.
Beginning Of My Day
I spend the beginning of each day praying and meditating for 10-20 minutes. I find it clears my head. It helps me to focus on what’s important and how I should be spending my time. After that, I write in my journal and do my morning stretching routine.
Commitment To Life-long Learning
I read a lot. I started with science-y material, but now spend my time reading personal development and classical literature/fiction. When I’m doing my weight training or on the bus, I alternate between audiobooks and music.
I try to keep all the information I absorb relevant to my life and my passions. I feel that reading helps me understand myself better.
I don’t watch TV. Most of what’s on TV is mindless. Especially the “news”. I’m bound to run into someone during my day who will tell me what’s going on anyway. I watch inspirational movies or educational documentaries that I have previously marked.
I don’t read the newspaper. I sometimes read magazines. If I do, I stick to articles that have information relevant to my life – like maybe something to do with science, health or fitness.
I am a big collector of inspiring quotes. They keep me thinking and reflecting throughout my daily activities.
A New Language
My mind has also been changed by my choice to embrace positivity and avoid negativity. One way I do this is to use positive language instead of negative words. I do my best to avoid words like can’t or impossible. Sometimes it’s necessary to use those words, but I try to keep them to a minimum.
Words like can’t or impossible are only opinions – not facts. If I keep repeating these to yourself or in daily conversations, it won’t be long before I start believing them. Once I think that things are impossible, I will start feeling dejected, depressed or that nothing I do matters. I know now that I will then start behaving in a manner that reflects those feelings.
Taking the Focus Off Myself
Another aspect that has help me become more mindful is pursuing my life’s purpose. I believe everyone’s purpose is to help others. The method and way in which that help is given is up to the individual.
What this does is shift focus off of myself and my own problems. The focus on something bigger than myself keeps me going.
Take a look at this great video with Dr. Lissa Rankin that explains how the mind can overcome health challenges: Mind Over Medicine
Although not perfect, my life is quite a happy one now. My mind and heart are free. I know that whatever comes my way, I have the capacity to deal with it. It is a long way from the person I was two years ago.
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Thanks and have a great day!