Question for Bernie:
Hi. I am a 55-year-old woman with controlled MS and Dysautonomia. This is a horrible disease and affects every system in your body. I have daily migraines, horrible upper back pain, chest pain, no appetite, nausea, and fatigue beyond belief. I am very limited in what I can do.
This is my question. How do you feel happy and up when you are not living the life you want to live? I find it very difficult.
The answer to how to be happy and feel positive when you are not living the life you want to live is that you work at it. The prominent American philosopher and early practitioner of psychology, William James, said “Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” Remember, no one else can make up your mind for you. Your choice to work with the challenges in your life instead of against them is entirely yours to make. No one else can choose how you bring, or don’t bring, happiness into your life.
Learn to meditate. There are different types of meditation, but one of the most popular in Western society has its roots in Asia and is called “mindfulness meditation.” You can do this kind of meditation either once a day or several short sessions a day, depending on your preference. You may choose to use a mantra to help you meditate. The use of a special sound that is called a mantra helps with concentration. Your particular mantra might be a simple sound or a single word, or even a phrase.
People often think of mantras being chanted in a group, but they can also be something you “hear” internally. If you use a mantra, you can progress to a point where just thinking of the sound of your mantra will immediately get you into a deeply relaxed state. It is in that state when meditation is most effective. Your mantra can include several words with a positive message about being grateful for life.
My wife has lived with MS for 50 years now. She has been very effective in our workshops and groups for cancer survivors at teaching people the healing power of humor. Think about situations in your life—whether long ago or just recently—that made you laugh out loud. Make sure you think of those times often throughout the day and give your immune system the gift of healing laughter.
Physical and emotional challenges can certainly limit our lives—if we let them. One way to push negative thinking and behaviors out of our lives is to write down the words that describe your illness, pain, and symptoms. Then look at the situations and people in your life that could be described using any of the same words on your list describing your illness. To whatever extent it is possible, you should make every effort to eliminate those negative people and situations from your life. Resolve to surround yourself with positive people and positive activities. This will really help you heal. Look into healthy supplements with the guidance of a naturopathic doctor and the company called life extension at this link: www.lef.org.