I have lived with an autoimmune disorder since the age of 17 (myasthenia gravis). To make a long story short, just before I was diagnosed I was under an extreme amount of stress as well as eating poorly (tons of sugar and processed foods or not eating enough at all). Years down the road when I realized how much food and stress affected my body I started to remove myself from stressful situations, address any stress that was affecting my mental health, pay attention and shift the processed food I was loading into my body and I really started to notice a big difference. It makes sense though, right?
We all know that what we eat directly affects each cell in our body. I mean, our bodies literally break down the food we consume and turn it into the building blocks that sustain and repair ourselves. With that small reminder, wouldn’t it be a good idea to supply the body with fresh and wholesome foods?
Remember that saying, “we are what we eat”? Well its true! Much of our body is made from what we put into it! Try incorporating more fresh fruits and vegetables -cooked or lightly steamed vegetables. Much of the packaged foods today are not wholesome or nourishing let alone food at all. It is more or less a combination of ingredients and preservatives designed to taste good and have a long shelf life. I’m not saying all pre-packaged foods are bad but you must be conscious of your choices and don’t be afraid to read the label! If you are, its probably not the best to buy in the first place!
Ahhh stress. Everyone experiences it in one form or another.- family, work, school or just day-to-day life experiences. Regardless of where it comes from it wrecks our body. It can break down our mental and physical self slowly leaving us feeling haggard and tired. This is why along with food we must be conscious to rid ourselves of stress as much as possible. We must decompress in a healthy way to not overwhelm ourselves with stress causing the slow decline of our mental and physical self.
This is a little reminder to pay attention to your current stressors and either remove yourself in a healthy way from them or if you can’t, learn stress reduction techniques. I love to listen to meditation tracks on my iPhone (I use an app called insight timer) and just zone my mind out on some positive tracks. I also sit outside and listen to nature – whatever sounds may be going on. And one of my favorites although pricy is experiencing the calming effect of a floatation tank. I wrote about my experience here.
There are small things we can do every day that will add up over time and turn our body into less of mess. These are good reminders for everyone but especially us with an autoimmune disorder. We already have enough riding on us and If we can make a few small healthy adjustments to improve our body our mind and our life, then why not?
I hope you join me and try out some of the things mentioned above. Let me know your thoughts!
Instead of viewing your chronic illness as a disease in your body, choose to view it as an opportunity to reconnect with yourself and learn to love yourself through meditation.
In my senior year at college I was involved in a school tradition called “Marathon,” where every freshman was assigned to a senior, and that freshman makes fun of you in a series of theater skits. My freshman’s performance was eye-opening. She whined, “I can’t do this, and I can’t do that. My neck hurts, my back hurts, my shoulders ache.” Everyone in the audience was laughing, but I was hurt and surprised. That’s how my classmates saw me? As a whiner and a complainer—a joke? A hypochondriac? Everyone else’s skit portrayed something truly funny, but I had a real health problem. And I was being laughed at for it.
There’s a reason why chronic illnesses are considered the “invisible diseases” and sometimes perceived as hypochondria: if others actually can’t see the pain you’re in, they think you’re a faker. The truth is, I actually did think of myself as a “sick chick” for a long time, so I bear responsibility for transmitting that message out to the masses. Until we stop defining ourselves as sick, other people will continue to see us that way too.
Instead of viewing your condition as a disease in your body, choose to view it as an opportunity to reconnect with yourself and learn to love yourself. When I discovered the Glow Warrior within, I knew it definitely came directly from the power of the Universe (you can call it God, the One, or Gaia—it all works!). It’s there within you too. You won’t drown, get lost, or lose your way. You will, however, start seeing yourself as bigger than your physical challenges or limitations.
Do Nothing—with Purpose
First of all, don’t just sit there. Sit there and get comfortable in the present moment. The first step to truly healing is to fully surrender to where you are in this moment. And to let it be. When you allow yourself to be truly present in your body, your heart will soften and open, and you can begin to use that feeling as your guide. This is how you will begin to heal yourself. Focusing on your breath is what will bring you back to the present at any moment you choose. Your breath is your life force and your anchor, and unfortunately it is something that, for a lot of us, tends to get lost in the shuffle when we are dealing with severe stress in the body. The first place to start getting reconnected to yourself is through your breath.
Focus on breathing in through your nose, lowering your breath all the way down into your tummy, and expanding your ribcage out to the sides. Then slowly exhale out through your mouth. The first time I sat and did nothing but breathe, I thought I was going to scream hard enough to ace the part of the hysterical heroine in the next zombie apocalypse movie. After a few tries I started looking forward to it because doing nothing with purpose really does put you in touch with your higher self, your inner guide, the present moment, and the spiritual forces that are all on your side. It’s called meditating, which is a practice that helps us build and maintain our internal energy and develop patience, forgiveness, and compassion.
If you have a chronic condition or are physically struggling, you have to make a clear intention to sit in the initial discomfort and distractions beginning meditation often brings. There you are, sitting cross-legged, replaying a particularly annoying conversation at work, or thinking about the laundry you need to pick up (or dry cleaning you need to drop off), and all of a sudden you’re not meditating anymore. Eventually, you re-center yourself and let those random thoughts float by, and you do begin to see yourself differently. You begin to feel more loving and more forgiving, less critical of yourself. You get yourself out of the “what ifs” of the future or “coulda shouldas” from the past and get comfortable in the present moment.
Don’t stop even if you feel very uncomfortable and strange in the beginning. Be persistent. Give time and space for your inner voice to make itself heard. That will happen either right in the moment or sometime later during the day. Doing nothing is so powerful it has an amazing residual effect—sort of like taking a time-release capsule of inner peace and wisdom. Some synchronistic event will occur; someone will tell you exactly what you need to hear; you will get a sudden flash of insight. Along with that, you’ll realize you are so much more than your tingling legs, irritable bowel, or migraine headache.
Connecting with my soul has been one of the best things I have ever done for my physical condition and my mind. Finding my soul was like finding my home, and when I found it, everything else started to flow, and my body started to heal.
A simple meditative breathing practice to connect to your soul:
Sit still and tall somewhere comfortable; a chair with good back support works well. Close your eyes and begin breathing through your nose. Inhale for a count of two, and exhale gently for a count of four. Keep breathing evenly and smoothly. Set a timer and breathe this way for at least five minutes.
One nice element you can add to this exercise is a mantra. On the inhale say to yourself, “I am,” and on the exhale, say to yourself, “perfectly well.” In doing so, you’re tuning into the idea that you’re not just your physical ailments, and you’re making room for your true self to breathe. Afterward you will notice a positive difference in your mood.
About the Author Amy Kurtz is a wellness expert, an AADP-certified Holistic Health Coach, and a regular contributor on popular wellness websites such as MindBodyGreen and Yoganonymous. She lives in New York City. For more information, visit amykurtz.com.
When I came across the video below, it truly touched me.
When I was first diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis (and awhile before my actual diagnosis), weakness got in the way of so many things I wanted to do. Holding up my arms and using my hands to successfully put a bit of makeup on, brush my teeth or put my hair up into a ponytail was not easily doable – along with other daily life tasks such as walking any distance or chewing my food well. I felt like my weakness had unexpectedly taken so many things away from me that I unknowingly took for granted most of my life prior to the onset of symptoms.
Sitting here now looking back at that time, little did I know, my weakness didn’t take anything away from me at all…it actually forced me into taking a close look at myself, my health and overall lifestyle and to go about things in all aspects of my life differently.
Over the years I was encouraged, by my stubbornness and internal strength, to adapt and to do things differently. I realized that if I wanted to continue enjoying the little and big things life has to offer, I needed to understand that the obvious route might not be for me (and that is not only ok but it’s both a blessing and a lesson wrapped into one). It’s ok to do things differently, to do things in whatever way works best for you.
So, as Jordan Bone wisely states in this video, “If something is standing in your way, maybe it means trying a different way, explore your options. The obvious route might not always be for you” and I couldn’t agree more.
Such wise words from an incredibly beautiful soul, inside and out.
Someone very close and encouraging in my life sent me this video. Of course, with everything else going on throughout my days, I brushed it aside and said I would get to it later.
Well, after being reminded numerous times, last night It was finally insisted upon me that I sit and watch it. So, I did. And now I am eagerly sharing it with you because, well, it was totally and completely worth my time.
I hope you watch this too and lovingly share it with the ones close to you in your life. We could all use a bit of this; a simple yet powerful little reminder.
We’re here together. We are all working towards and getting healthy together. You are not alone in this. However, it is your job and your job alone to push yourself yourself take the first step.
So make today great and make tomorrow even better.
If you are in need of some more motivational goodness in your life, I encourage you to check out more of her work at www.melrobbins.com
In this TED Talk, Psychologist Guy Winch shares how psychological injury can lead to poor immune system function. Like physical aches and pains, mental injuries are important to care for and pay attention to. These types of “injuries” may come from mental traumas caused by failure, rejection, and especially chronic loneliness. As Winch explains, loneliness and other psychological injuries can be harmful to your physical health.
Don’t forget to take steps to heal your mind as well as your body.
This quote is very accurate. I have been using it my own life lately. You can use this in your daily life as well to increase happiness, understanding and to open and transform your perspective on everything from how you are looking and addressing your health to how you deal with everyday interactions.
“Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change”
When you change your view, you learn to be compassionate with yourself. You are doing the best you can in this moment and that is all you can do for yourself. When you are doing the best you can, life seems to propel you in the best direction for your personal journey. It’s when we slack on growing our knowledge and open ness to the possibility of life, happiness and health, that we get stuck in the wrong place, path or illness.
“when you know better, do better”
So on the other hand, if you’re not doing the best you can and you know it, then work to do better (and i’m not talking about money or material things). Things that I improved (and continue to improve) for example were: my diet, friendships, relationships, communication, openness, self nurturing, self love and expanding my knowledge for the things most important to me. I will break down how to improve each one of those things in future posts so you can do better, feel better and live better too.