Posts Tagged ‘anger’

Is Your Liver Feeling Unappreciated?

Friday, November 7th, 2014

In the title of this post, I ask if your liver is feeling unappreciated. But that’s not exactly what I meant. The real question I want to ask you is, do any of your organs and body parts that are affected by your illness feel unappreciated? But there wasn’t enough room in the title to ask that, so I asked about your liver instead.

You probably haven’t been asked whether those organs and body parts feel unappreciated, and you’re probably wondering why I would ask you if yours do.

Here’s my answer: Imagine that, in a very difficult environment, you work hard for someone, striving to do the best job you can accomplishing a task that is very important to them. Then imagine that when you finish, instead of thanking you and expressing appreciation, the person you’ve been working for finds and criticizes you for all the imperfections, no matter how small, in the work you’ve done.

The fact that those imperfections are because you didn’t have the tools you needed and because of the tough work environment are completely ignored, and the criticism is harsh, and it stings.

If you had an experience like that, you would feel awful. And if you had to do the job again in the future, you probably would not have any motivation to do it well. So you would do it halfheartedly at best.

Getting back to your organs and body parts, they are made up of cells, which are living organisms. And all organisms, including you, animals, plants, and your body’s cells, respond similarly to the way you and I do to positive emotions like love and communications of appreciation, and they also respond similarly to negative emotions like anger and communications of criticism.

So to keep your afflicted organs working their best, even though they’re not working as well as you wish they were, let them know you appreciate them and let them know that you know they are doing the best job they can even though they have been afflicted and affected by illness.

If you would like to learn specific ways to do that, as well as some other helpful things you can do for them and for yourself, I invite you to sign up for my free report:

Learn How to Maximize Your Body’s Healing Ability When You Have a Chronic Illness.

Are You Angry at Yourself? Probably – Even if You Don’t Think so

Saturday, November 30th, 2013

You may already know that anger can have negative effects on both your emotional and physical well-being. I will describe some of those effects later in this post.

But before I do, I want to point out something most people don’t think about, which is this: when most of us think about anger and being angry, we think about someone we’re angry at, or about something that happened to us that made us angry and upset. We remember getting angry when something happened to us that wasn’t fair, like getting sick or losing our job – or both. We get angry at our government for passing bad laws or for not passing laws we know are needed.

But when we think about anger and being angry, rarely do we think about our anger at ourselves. However, most if not all of us have some–and some of us have a lot of it.

We get it from not being the way we think we should be. We get it from not having the willpower we think we should have. We may have it because we haven’t taken good care of ourselves or from not staying true to our values. We can get angry at ourselves because we got sick—even though we’re not to blame for that happening. And we can be angry at ourselves for countless other reasons.

Whatever the reasons and wherever they came from, whether we are aware of it or not, virtually all of us have some anger at ourselves. And that self-anger can have the same negative effects on our emotional and our physical well-being as anger at others does.

Those effects include weakening our immune system, high blood pressure, problems with digestion, skin problems, heart attacks, strokes, anxiety and depression, and many others.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that 85 percent of all diseases appear to have an emotional element. I think the percentage is even higher.

So if most of us have some self-anger, and that anger has negative effects on our emotional and physical well-being that makes our lives worse, what can we do?

The first thing we can do is to look and see if there are things we’re angry at ourselves for, things we’ve forgotten or never acknowledged in the first place. Then when we find that anger, we can do the same thing we can do when others do things that hurt and upset us: Just as we can forgive them, we can forgive ourselves.

In one way, it’s often easier to forgive ourselves than it is to forgive others. That’s because it’s easier to forgive people who apologize for what they did, but other people often don’t ever apologize. But we can always apologize to ourselves, and when when we do that, and mean it, it is a lot easier for us to forgive ourselves. So I strongly recommend that you take the time and make the effort to forgive yourself.

The next thing you can do is to be gentle with yourself and have lots of understanding compassion for both the part of you that has been hurt and angry and for the part that caused the hurt and anger. Remember that the part of you that did that was doing the best it knew how and was not intentionally trying to hurt you or make you angry and upset.

Healing self-anger can make a very big difference in your life. One of my clients recently discovered that because of her anger at herself, anger that she didn’t realize she had, she had been punishing herself for years. When she forgave herself and stopped doing that, she had a big breakthrough and experienced a miraculous shift in her often difficult relationship with her husband.

Whether or not you have a breakthrough, I am certain that healing any self-anger you have, by apologizing, forgiving, and having compassion for yourself, will have a very positive effect on your physical and emotional well-being.

—————————————————————————————–

Tom Robinson, who has a chronic illness (Crohn’s disease) himself, helps people with chronic illnesses meet their many challenges and then find and follow a path to happiness and fulfillment.

Get his free report, Has Living with a Chronic Illness Worn You Down? Learn How to Outsmart Your Illness and Have a Much Better Life.

Doing Different Things to Try to Get Well

Monday, April 30th, 2012

When we have a chronic illness, we often try every thing we can think of to get better. Unfortunately, some of the things we try provide little or no improvement. For example, I went on a very strict and difficult to follow diet for almost a year. Some of my Crohn’s disease symptoms quickly and miraculously went away, only to come back a few weeks later even though I continued to adhere to the diet.

Other things we try can and sometimes do provide really good results. A client with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) whom I’ll call Dave went on a special diet for two years. On top of that, he did yoga for one and a half to two hours a day.

His efforts paid off: on a scale of 1 to 10, his health went from a 5 to an 8 and his energy went from a 5 to a 9! He felt great about what he had accomplished, and justifiably so.

However, doing yoga every day took up an awful lot of his free time. And preparing the food for his diet also took a lot of time and took a lot of work as well. So much that he became resentful and angry because of all the time he needed to spend to stay healthy and stopped doing yoga and following the special diet. Predictably, his health and energy levels went back to 5’s.

It’s easy to see why Dave would feel resentful about his situation. But at the same time, he actually had a choice about whether or not to do those things and how much time to spend doing them. To help him see that choice, I asked if it would make sense for him to establish a three weeks on, one week off schedule. We both knew that his symptoms would probably get worse during his week off, but then they would get better again when he resumed his yoga and diet regimen.

From my question, Dave realized that his regimen didn’t need to be all or nothing, and that it was completely up to him to decide how much time and effort to devote to it. That realization dramatically reduced the stress he was experiencing and the resentment and anger he was feeling.

As I write this, he is still deciding what to do. When he makes his decision, I know it will be the right one for him.

One final comment: Dave is taking responsibility for his health, which is what I strongly encourage everyone to do. But I want to make it clear that I am not suggesting or recommending that change the amount of medications you’re taking or do anything that is against your doctor’s orders. You should discuss all changes like that with your doctor first.

When you get angry, be gentle and understanding – with yourself

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

I decided on today’s topic because of a conversation that took place recently in one of the online support groups I belong to. A woman I’ll call Carolyn wrote about her long, ongoing struggle to try to get disability insurance. She said she was very angry because she was being treated unfairly by the disability insurance system, especially compared to a relative of hers who was getting a much quicker response.

I don’t know Carolyn, but from what she shared about herself it seems clear to me that she qualifies for and should get disability insurance. I can easily empathize with her, not only because of her struggle to get the insurance, but because she lives in constant pain and shouldn’t have to go through all that additional stress. The fact that it’s well known that valid claims are routinely denied, especially the first time they are made, doesn’t make Carolyn’s-or anyone’s–experience of trying to get disability insurance any less trying and stressful.

Carolyn was denied not just once, but twice, so her anger is completely understandable and very probably justifiable as well. But I hope she follows it up with a lot of gentleness and compassion for herself (and I let her know that). When we get angry when we feel like we’ve been treated badly or unfairly, we often don’t realize that underneath that anger is a lot of emotional pain. And just as we give those we care about compassion when they have been emotionally hurt and are in emotional pain, we can do the same for ourselves.

Another person in the group told Carolyn to try to stay positive. That sounds good, but when we’re going through a hard time, neither I nor people I’ve talked about it with have been able do that for very long. And not only is giving ourselves compassion is much easier to do than staying positive, but it heals the emotional pain rather than just covering it up.

Keeping Hope Alive

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

When life is difficult, as it often is when we have a chronic illness, one of the most important things that helps us keep going is hope for a better future. But given the many challenges, hardships, and disappointments we face, hope like that can be hard to come by. Fortunately, there are things you can do to make hope for a better future real – and then keep it alive.

Before I share some of those things with you, I want to first repeat the same advice I’ve written in many of my other posts and that I repeatedly give to my clients: give yourself LOTS of compassion for having to live with your illness and its symptoms. From my many years of experience coaching people with chronic illnesses and having one myself, I know without a doubt that it is one of the best things those of us with chronic illnesses can do for ourselves. And the suggestions I’m going to give you for keeping hope alive will work much better if you give yourself lots of compassion first.

I want to say one more thing before I give you my suggestions: not only is keeping hope alive good for our emotional health, it’s good for our physical health as well. Here’s why: People who live and contend with the symptoms of a serious illness often become angry and depressed, and being angry and depressed weakens the immune system. A weakened immune system leaves them more susceptible to flares and to other diseases.

Clearly eliminating illness-related depression and anger is important for maintaining and improving our physical health. And finding real hope for a better future is one of the most effective ways to do that.

My first suggestion for finding real hope for a better future and keeping it alive is to make a list of the good times and the successes you’ve had since your diagnosis. Maybe you had an especially enjoyable time with friends last week, got a new job last month, got married recently, heard an uplifting sermon at church, had a son or daughter graduate from high school or college last summer, had a new grandchild, or just saw a beautiful sunset. Just like everyone else, those of us with chronic illnesses have our special times, but because of our daily pain and struggles we often quickly forget about them. So start writing them down, and reread your list frequently. Doing that will remind you of those experiences and the good feelings that came with them, and will help you realize that even though you have an illness, you are still going to have more of those successes and good times in the future.

My next suggestion for making hope for a better future real and keeping it alive is to look for ways to regain control in your life. One of the worst aspects of having a chronic illness is the loss of control of our bodies and our lives the illness brings about. We often aren’t able to eat what we want, go where we want, hold the job we want, or engage in the activities we want to. The list of the things we can’t do can goes on and on, and we can easily dwell on the control we’ve lost. To make hope for a better future real and keep it alive, we need to find ways to regain control. Fortunately, total control isn’t necessary. Coaching clients, as well as studies I’ve read, have shown me that a little can go a long way.

So I suggest that you choose one small area of your life and take a small step to improve it. The step can be as small as buying a house plant for your home, getting earplugs so you can sleep better, or calling friensd you haven’t talked to in a while, and reconnecting with them. After you’ve done that, decide on and take another step, then another, and another. As you do, your hope will keep growing, and so too will the quality of your life.

My last suggestion for making hope for a better future real is to get involved in something bigger than yourself. Many people with a chronic illness–and I speak from personal experience as well as from my experience coaching others–spend too much of their time thinking about their illness. Of course we need to think about how to best treat our illness and how to live the best life possible, but when we dwell on our symptoms and how hard our lives are, we make our lives more difficult than they already are.

Instead of dwelling on your symptoms, I suggest that you look for ways to make the world a better place. Find a cause that’s important to you, such as cleaning up the environment, teaching illiterate adults to read, or helping to raise money to find a cure for your illness. Then participate regularly in whatever cause you are able. When you do, you’ll spend much less time dwelling on your symptoms and how hard your life is, and you will find you’re more hopeful about the future, and on top of that you will be making the world a better place.

These are some of my suggestions for how to make hope for a better future real and keep it alive when you have a chronic illness. I would love to hear about any that have worked well for you.