By Scott Cremeans
You better change your attitude, mister, or I will change it for you. I remember occasionally hearing that as a kid, and I wondered how anyone could change someone else’s disposition. I thought it, but I was smart enough never to ask the question, which would have been bad for my health. I always tried to have a great attitude no matter the situation as a young guy, and meditating in Mother Nature helped tremendously. I now try to stay positive and hope that a smile or kind word I give is just what someone needs to change their day.
There are a lot of negative aspects that come with a medical diagnosis like multiple sclerosis. At any step of the way, any disease can weigh heavily on your body physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially. When a person with any medical condition cannot do things they used to, losing friends becomes inevitable. This situation means it is easy to fall into darkness, causing you to act bitter and abrasive to others, encouraging others to reciprocate. Finding ways to better your outlook is essential for your health mentally as well as socially.
There are several things I do to help boost my happy hormones and encourage joy in my life. A pleasant personality while in public will inspire others to be joyful as a cheerful attitude is contagious. In other words, a happy smile begets empathetic compassion while a melancholy frown attracts apathetic indifference. So no matter your medical diagnosis, you will likely go through the five stages of grief at your speed. I have heard that you should fake it till you make it, so while traveling through this process, paste on a smile and reap the rewards.
The first thing that is important to keep a healthy and cheery life is consuming complimentary cuisine. There are a multitude of diets, no matter if you are trying to get healthy or if you have a medical condition. I generally feel that most diets are good, so my recommendation is to find one that you can easily fit into your lifestyle. Healthy eating is important because it helps you physically but benefits your brain and cognition as well. When I feel good and think clearly, it is easier to wear a smile and be pleasant at all times, making life less bitter.
Another thing that is essential for a happy life is getting into a solid sleep routine. For a while, I had a sleep doctor who helped me through my downtime difficulties to become one of the well-rested. While you sleep, your brain is being rebooted like the computer that it is and lack of proper slumber puts a halt to this process. If you nap for several hours in the daytime, it will be tough to sleep at night, making you tired all day. Limit your daytime naps to twenty or thirty minutes using timers or alarms to create a good sleep structure. It may be difficult initially, but you will appreciate your work once your body and brain adjust.
There are many physical and mental benefits to meditation, and the best way to receive these perks is to practice. To reach peace within one option is set aside time every day to put your brain into a meditative state. This repetitive action will help you continually manage and reduce the stress that can otherwise ruin your day. On the other hand, taking slow and controlled breaths can aid you mentally if you have, let’s say, been caught in traffic. Only starting with five minutes at a specific time of day puts you into a tranquil place that will help you all day. This continually calm practice will reduce blood pressure and stress, making your doctor extremely happy.
No matter if you are taking vitamin D or basking daily in natural sunlight, there are a plethora of perks to being enjoyed. These physical and mental benefits when soaking up the sunlight in your life help in unexpected ways. Lapping up the solar rays can help bone health and fight infections, diabetes, and cancer alike. Sunlight saturation can also raise your serotonin production levels, boosting your mood, and making you happier.
Exercise is not merely for the toning and building of muscles but for brain betterment as well. Exercise boosts the creation of several chemicals in the brain like dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphin. These brain compounds help the body reduce anxiety, stress, and depression, requiring fewer pills. I feel there are just as many benefits to exercise for the mind as for the body, if not more. As little as thirty minutes a day of physical activity can have you reaping the rewards of these bodybuilding brain-boosting benefits.
The truth is that it is understandable to be sad after a medical diagnosis that will ultimately change your life. The struggles are real and plentiful, but it is essential to lean on your support system and those who truly understand your condition. Your friends and family may empathize, but those who are dealing with the same issues have a much deeper understanding of your struggles. So it is in your best interest to keep your visit to this dismally dark place brief like your life depends on it because it does. Follow the steps I previously discussed to make a new and better life for yourself and your support system.
If you are kind to others, you run the risk of them being kind to you.
*Scott Cremeans lives in Central Ohio. He is a US Marine who was diagnosed with RRMS in 2001 at the age of 27. Scott has successfully managed his MS symptoms on his own with his faith, friends, and humor. You can read more about his MS journey by visiting his blog www.myramblings.blog where he muses about life in the slow lane with his literary wit.