A Bakers Dozen for A Happier New Year in a Life With Pain
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1. Don't get sucked into the "failing health" way of thinking. Each year brings new drugs, new remedies and new approaches. Your mindset has a significant influence on your health in the coming year. Never underestimate the power of your mind. There are no rules, therefore, you don't have to sit down on your backside and slide into the slime pit of despair.
2. Avoid, as if they had the plague, all individuals who want to dump on you, compare sad stories with you as in "mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the sickest one of all", or talk excessively and obsessively about their own health or yours.
3. Try to fight against every part of your malady, injury or disease that is trying to suck you under. Remember sometimes life hurts but that's doable; just keep moving, planning ahead and breathing in air as you take one step after another.
4. Don't let yourself fall apart. The chances are, if you used to be a cute, pretty or handsome individual, you still can be. Sick, older and infirmed does not equal ugly so don't help it happen. Take pride in your appearance, think about hygiene and when it becomes difficult, remember any exercise is good exercise. Brushing your teeth counts. Rubbing lotion onto your arms, feet and legs counts; especially if you literally count to forty while you massage it in forty times. That's forty times your arms will be exercised each day. Climbing stairs counts as does all daily functions. Keep counting on your body to come through for you. If you give up on it, it might retaliate and give up on you.
5. Think about what you eat. Read a book on nutrition frequently or even a good, beautifully photographed cookbook. Food is fuel but it is so much more than that. If you don't eat a well-balanced diet, take your vitamins and minerals each day. Become aware of what you are putting into your body.
6. Read a daily newspaper or a weekly news magazine. Get your head outside of yourself. There is a huge world out there full of healthy, some sick, innovative, and wonderful human beings. It will remind you that you are not alone. Keeping up with the outside world will also help you to keep your perspective and find numerous individuals who also must face life as a challenge. You are a member of a vast array of humanity. Some days, if the news is too heavy, don't be afraid to turn it off.
7. Give a portion of what you have to charity. There are so many who need help in today's world. There are childrens' hospitals, veteran's organizations, food banks, etc. Even if you only give one dollar it will come back to enrich your soul as well as helping another fellow human who needs you.
8. If you don't like your doctor or are not getting relief, help or hope from him/her then look for a new doctor. Those of us with chronic pain succumb more easily than most to depression and discouragement. Reach out toward any source of inspiration whether it is your faith in God, the beauty of a sunset or the awesome sight of a bird in flight. Let your mind give you strength when your body has little of it.
9. Don't be an idiot. If your physician gives you a medication, take it. If you're given advice to exercise or stretch, then do it. Reach, believe and look up, never look down except when you're afraid you're going to trip.
10. Remember, each day, the fleeting quality of life. We are not going to live forever so try to truly live your life, don't just exist. Try to find joy in your spouses, your pets or your friends.
11. Bring, buy or cut out something from a newspaper or magazine that will make you laugh. Put it where you can see it every day. Rent or buy a DVD that's humorous, read humor or even the comics; just smile or laugh each and every day. That's a medical modality. It's good for your health, your heart and your mind. You can't find better medicine than that.
12. Avoid anyone who tells you to be realistic. Be fanciful, believe in magic and look for the fairy dust in life. Refuse to embrace invalidism or those who encourage you to do so. This includes moaning, sighing and self-pity. Crying is allowed as a release valve or preferably if you are crying on behalf of someone else. If you must behave in a bitchy manner, make it quick, get it over with and get on with the business of living. If you need to cry, cry; then dry it up and get back to life. The same goes for irascible behavior.
13. Beware of the pitfall of displaying your maladies to others as in toting around a heating pad, complaining excessively or attempting to wrench pity from others. Avoid fainting couches and handkerchief waving. You are not Greta Garbo, and this is real life; it's not Camille and you are also not Joan of Arc. Both of those women ended badly. You will find the rewards of such behavior to be hollow, empty, and non-gratifying. It's also an abuse of love and caring both for yourself and for others who care about you. Love is a gift, not an excuse to beg, whine or grovel for attention. Keep this pain in its place and don't let it dictate bad behavior on your part. Behave yourself by being true to yourself.
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