Posts Tagged ‘sickness’

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.

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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.

How You Are Isn’t As Important As How You Feel

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

If you are reading my blog, chances are you have a chronic illness. And if I asked you how you are, you would likely tell me that you’re sick, that you’re having a flare, that you’re in pain, or something like that. Because I’m a life coach for people with chronic illnesses, I have asked many people that question and have gotten many answers similar to the ones I just mentioned.

But when I ask people with chronic illnesses how they feel, I get answers that aren’t at all the same or similar. Some people say they feel bad, depressed, upset, or sad, while others say that they feel good, positive, grateful, optimistic, and things like that. I find myself wondering why some people with chronic illnesses feel good while others don’t, and wondering even more about what those who feel those negative emotions can do to feel more of the positive ones.

Before I continue, I want to say that I don’t consider it to be a sign of weakness for a person to feel bad or sad when he or she has a chronic illness. Since having a chronic illness very often means 1) living with pain and fatigue, 2) not being able to things that we enjoy and used to be able to do, and 3) not being able to explain to others what living with our illness is like so they understand it, it’s completely understandable that a person with a chronic illness would feel depressed, upset, etc.

But even though feeling negative emotions is understandable, I have no doubt that most of us who live with a chronic illness would choose to FEEL better if we could. And the truth is that we can. There are many things we can do – so many that I could write a book. Actually, I am writing a book, and I’ll let you know when it’s available so you can get it if you want to.

In the meantime, here are a couple of ways you can FEEL better even though you have a chronic illness and aren’t well:

The first is to recognize that feelings, including negative ones, are transitory. They come and they can go, but only if we let them. One thing you can do is to imagine that you’re a house, and that feelings come in with the wind through an open window. If the window on the other side of the house is closed, the feelings will stay, but if you visualize yourself opening that other window, the feelings will pass through and leave.

The second way is not for everyone, but many of you will find it very helpful. That is to schedule a time each day for negative feelings – for example, from 2:00 until 2:15 every afternoon. If you notice yourself having negative feelings before that time, just set them aside until then. And any negative feelings after 2:15 are to be set aside until the following afternoon.

While these ideas won’t directly improve your health, they can be a great help in lifting your feelings. I will share more ideas in a later post. If you would like some suggestions for your own challenges, you can sign up for one of the limited number of no cost introductory “How to Have a Better Life” coaching sessions I offer.

I’ll close by saying Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, and Happy Holidays everyone!

Something to do for yourself when you’re hurting

Saturday, October 24th, 2009

I’ve written many times about the benefits of being compassionate with yourself when you’re sick or not feeling well. While I haven’t written about it before, I also recommend that you do the same thing for any part or parts of your body that are hurting or not functioning the way they are supposed to.

When something hurts, like an inflamed joint or a head or stomach that aches, most people focus on it, wonder how long it will last and if it will ever get better, and worry about how they will do all their tasks and chores and get through the day with the pain they’re experiencing.

Until a few years ago, I did the same. But since then I’ve learned that both I and the part of me that hurts feel much better when I give it care and compassion. I do that by focusing my attention on my ailing body part, and then feeling compassion for it. I also gently and lovingly stroke it, or if it’s my stomach or something else I can’t stroke directly, I caress the skin that’s right above it. And if I’m hurting all over, I’ll give myself a compassionate hug.

In my experience, doing this doesn’t always make all the pain go away, but it virtually always lessens it. And besides having less pain, I also feel more peaceful afterward.

A little while ago I came across some fascinating corroboration of my results. In his book Quantum Healing, Deepak Chopra describes an experiment at Ohio University, in which rabbits were fed a very high cholesterol diet so their arteries would become blocked. The researchers were puzzled because one group of rabbits had 60 percent fewer symptoms than all the other groups. When they investigated further, they discovered that the anomaly was due to the fact that the student who was feeding those rabbits liked to fondle and pet them, so he held each rabbit lovingly for a few minutes before he gave it its food.

I hope you will give compassion and TLC to yourself whenever and wherever you hurt. And given the results of that rabbit experiment, you may want to also do so before each meal.

A Special Kind of Love

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

When you were sick as a child, I hope you were taken care of as well as I was when I got sick. I have fond memories of those days. They were very special because I got to stay home from school, lie on the couch in the living room, and read or watch TV as much as I wanted (game shows were my favorite). But what really made those days special was all the extra TLC my mother would give me  (TLC, as I’m sure you know, stands for tender loving care). She would bring me ice cream or chicken soup when I was hungry, something to drink when I was thirsty, and cover me with a blanket to keep me warm. And she would put her hand lovingly on my forehead to check my temperature and to let me know how much she cared about me and that she wanted me to feel better.

It took me many, many years as an adult to learn that whenever I got sick, I could give myself the same kind of TLC my mother gave me as a child. I went through serious illnesses like mononucleosis, many painful medical procedures, three surgeries, and my first 10 years of having Crohn’s disease without that knowledge. Obviously I survived, but I’ve often wondered how.

Taking care of myself  – when I’m sick or when my Crohn’s disease  is active – the way my mother took care of me when I was sick as a child is not a panacea. It doesn’t make everything “all better.” But I have no doubt that it has significantly lessened the duration of my illnesses and flares and it has greatly improved the quality of my life.

What about you? If you had the same positive experience of being taken care of when you were sick as a child as I did, I encourage you to give yourself that same kind of care whenever you need it. If you didn’t get that kind of care, please give yourself extra compassion today because you didn’t get it as a child, and then, every time you need it, give yourself the special kind of love that children – and adults too – deserve when they’re sick.

Being Grateful for Our Body Parts and Organs That Work Just Fine

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

I’m sure you’ve been told to be grateful for what you have. It’s a good thing to do: A study by Dr. Robert Emmons at the University of California at Davis showed that gratitude improves both physical and emotional health. But what are we supposed to be grateful for when we have a chronic illness?

Here’s a suggestion: No matter how sick we are, all of us have organs and body parts that work exactly the way they’re supposed to. And for most of us, there are a lot more parts that work just fine than there are parts that don’t. In spite of that, we usually focus and dwell on the parts that aren’t working.

As you know if you’ve read my other posts, I’m a strong believer in having compassion for yourself. So in this case what I recommend is that yyou give the parts of you that are not working well, and very possibly in pain, lots of compassion and love. Not only do they deserve it, but giving it to them is very healing.

Then be grateful for all the parts of you that do work, think about all the other people, pets, and things in your life that you’re also grateful for, and have the best day you possibly can.