One of my go to mental strategies for coping with a chronic physical condition is crafting my mental happy place. The most important self-care tip I can give you is: doing your best to remain as positive as you can. This doesn’t mean faking it every day, this means doing the best you can on good days but also taking the time to acknowledge the emotional strain of the bad days. Focusing on all the things you love and what brings you joy is creating your mental happy place.
I had good, bad, and really bad days throughout treatment. On the really bad days, I took the day to really feel sorry for myself and sit with the grief. I acknowledged the shit I was going through so that I was able to feel the emotions and let them flow out of me. Of course, they didn’t all go away but the practice of being real with myself helped the negativity flow instead of getting stuck inside me. If I were to ignore the negative, it would stay in my body as stress. Stress causes the cortisol levels in my body to rise which creates more pain. If I just focused on the negative then that’s where I would stay.
The lotus flower I made had writing on the petals of the positive wisdom I would gain from this experience. I aimed really high with the positive perspective so even if I didn’t reach it, I would still gain insights into the lesson I was learning about myself.
Start by listing things that make you happy. This can be a written list or a collage of all your favorite things.
What brings joy to you?
What makes you feel nurtured and loved?
What food and drinks make you feel warm and cozy?
What helps to calm your inner child?
What kind of environment helps to heal your soul? (gardens, oceans, museums, woods, etc)
Create this on paper or in your journal, then create it in your mind. Work on every little detail you can think of and build your happy place mentally. Even thinking about what brings calm into your soul can actually bring calm to your soul.
Create the garden you want to walk through, or the dream house next to river. Sit on the porch by the ocean looking out on the dunes. Meditate in the mountains of Tibet and build the shrine you want to look at.
Your perception and mental state is huge in your healing process. It is huge in your life – period. Your perception and focus will lead you in your life and now is the time for honest self-care and changing your mental attitude may be a part of that.