Positive Mindset

There are tens of thousands of self-help gurus trying to make an easy buck toting the merits of a positive mindset. The key element is to just be hopeful and all will be sunshine and rainbows for you. In case you couldn’t tell, I’m the first to question this pollyannaish attitude.

A positive mindset is so important when living with Crohn's

My favorite philosophers, growing up, were skeptics. I enjoyed Nietzsche and Socrates, for example, for the way they questioned concepts the general populace takes for granted. All that being said, when it comes to Crohn's disease, I have to admit that a positive mindset is incredibly important. It won’t make everything sunshine and rainbows for you, necessarily, but it certainly beats the alternative.

Years of suffering from Crohn's can take a toll

Why is a positive mindset so critical when it comes to our condition? Well, for one, Crohn's disease is a very trying condition. The years of suffering can take a toll on your well-being. I've had this condition for thirty years, and, believe me, there were many times when I just wanted to give up. Stop watching my diet. Not leave the house. Feel sorry for myself, quit dating, never work again, just be miserable.

But, while all of the above may be necessary, at times, when our disease is very active, long-term, it is best to try and keep hopeful and active. Life is like a game of cards. You really do need to play the cards you are dealt. Those with Crohn's disease have a tough hand. An absurdly cruel hand, at times, even. But, wherever possible, playing our best, under the circumstances, can really make a huge difference.

Remaining optimistic amidst the hard times

Now, by a positive mindset, what do I mean? Well, first and foremost, I'm talking about remaining optimistic. To the degree you can, try to keep your head up and make the best of it. Then, too, if possible, remember to smile, to laugh, to appreciate what you have.

All of the above can be tough. I fail at this all the time. I've had Crohn’s disease thirty years, so, of course, I've responded to this condition just about every way imaginable...including a very, dark and negative attitude....a fatalistic attitude...a why me attitude? But, what I learned is when you can be positive, it really does make this disease more bearable.

I'm not suggesting you pretend that all is well when it is not. I'm just saying to try and keep an upbeat attitude—to look at the positives in your scenario—however few they may be.

The second part of a positive attitude is equanimity or remaining calm and balanced, in the face of the obstacles you are facing. With Crohn's disease/colitis, this is essential since the condition tends bring drastic ups and downs. At points when you are in remission, you may feel elated and want to experiment with new dietary options. Then, at other points, where things go wrong, all may seem hopeless. Equanimity is necessary, then, so as to ensure you don’t go insane.

We never know what will work to help our condition

The last critical part of a positive attitude, that has worked for me, is being an open person. This could mean trying relaxation techniques like meditating, adopting dietary modifications, visiting a more healing climate, or various other methods that, in theory at least, might improve your symptoms. We never know what might work. The key thing is to keep trying and keep hopeful.

So, to review, by remaining upbeat, maintaining equanimity, and trying to be an open person you just might make the hell that is Crohn's disease/colitis a little more tolerable. To be sure, none of these methodologies will cure your condition. Unfortunately, most of us will still suffer tremendously. But a positive attitude may make these conditions slightly less overwhelming.

I wish all of you good health and happiness. Feel free to comment and share your own insights into managing this condition. Finally, if you are suffering, and need someone to chat with, feel free to reach out.

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