When you live with chronic pain and fatigue, there are a lot of things that can make you feel worse. Over-doing it, crappy weather, stress. But, these are six mental actions that will make you feel physically worse.
1 . Feeling Sorry For Yourself!– When you focus on the negatives of your life, you you give them power. Stop giving your power away. It’s OK to take a moment and think about what’s going in your life and what you might be able to do to change things. But, when you allow yourself to get bogged down in all that is wrong, it takes over. It makes you feel worse mentally, which makes you feel worse physically.
2 . Avoiding Change– Too often we stay where we are because we are afraid of what change might lead to. We’ve been through so much that we are afraid that any change might just make things worse. It’s a valid fear, and well-earned. But, that fear is also keeping us from feeling better. We convince ourselves not to try changes that might help because “they probably won’t work anyway”, or “it’s too much work”. Is anything really too much work if it works? And you won’t know if it works unless you try.
3. Wasting Energy on Things You Can’t Control – There is much in life that we can control, and yet we spend more energy on the things we can’t control.
We worry about the past, the things we said, the things that happened, and wish we could change it (we can’t), or wonder what might have happened if we’d done or said something differently. The “I should have’s” take over. All this does is increase stress that makes us feel worse. We worry about what someone else might say or do. We worry about what other people are thinking. These are things we can’t control.
The only thing we can control are our own actions and reactions in the moment. Focus on the things you can do, stop wasting time on the things you have no power over. Focus on the things you can control, stop wasting time on the things you have no power over. Click To Tweet
4. Trying to Please Everyone – Most of us with fibromyalgia suffer from the dreaded disease of “yes, of course, sure”. These are our answers to any request from anyone. We don’t stop to think about whether we really can, or what else in our life saying yes might impact. We don’t even stop to check our calendar and see if there’s an overlap with some other commitment. And, once we discover that there is a problem, we still don’t try to cancel. We decide we can do it anyway. We’ll make it work.
We need to stop making everything work for everyone else, and start focusing on taking care of ourselves. Focus that energy we are spending on everyone else on ourselves and we might start feeling better. You can’t please everyone, so stop trying. The people who really love you don’t need you to break yourself to please them. You please them by existing.
5. Resenting Other People’s Success – It’s amazing how often we look around and see others succeeding only to feel a little cringe of jealousy. Even if we are succeeding at something else, or have no desire to succeed in the way they are succeeding, we get jealous. That is just so silly, yet we do it anyway.
I can only imagine how much of a negative impact those negative feelings are having on our bodies and minds. If someone else is successful we should feel happy for them. If they are successful in a way that we want to be successful then we should feel happy for them and then ask them how they did it. When it comes to fibro I see it a lot. Someone finds something that helps them feel better and everyone around them says “Oh well they must not have really had fibromyalgia….” It’s sad really. We have a hard enough time proving that our illness is real to the world at large, shouldn’t all of us with Fibro (and any chronic illness) be supporting each other?
6. Expecting Immediate Results – We have to be open to change, but we have to understand that making changes does not always yield immediate results. Your changes also have to be consistent if you want to see results. Consistency x Time = Results.
One of the biggest problems I see when it comes to making any sort of commitment to health is that people want it to have an effect immediately. If someone doesn’t see immediate results from diet changes or exercise, they are ready to quit. But, the truth is that we won’t see immediate results. Results take time and consistency. We all know this in our head, yet we don’t accept it in our heart. So, when we try something new and we don’t see positive changes immediately, we are ready to quit before we’ve given it a chance. Don’t quit. Make positive changes and give them time to show you their worth. Don't quit. Make positive changes and give them time to show you their worth. Click To Tweet
Which of these mental actions are causing you the most grief? I am personally guilty of every one of them at different times. However, I think the one that tends to get me the most is focusing on things I can’t control. The “I should have’s” and running through a conversation or interaction that already happened in my head to figure out what I should have done differently. This rumination does me no good, and only brings me down both mentally and physically.