Receiving a difficult diagnosis is scary and devastating for anyone. I’m not here to tell you that you must be positive at all times after that diagnosis. In fact, it is important to work through all of your emotions. You are not required to feel good or positive everyday. But having negative thoughts day-in and day-out is self-defeating.
Be Honest with Yourself
The first step to allowing yourself to stay positive is to be honest with yourself and your friends and family about how you feel. This will allow you to better understand your own emotions and work through any negative thoughts, giving you the ability to counter them with more specific positive thoughts. Not only that, but it gives you the opportunity to lean on your support system. Knowing that you are not alone is half the battle in staying positive after a difficult diagnosis.
Understand Your Diagnosis
One of the scariest things about a difficult diagnosis is not understanding the illness and any possible treatment. Arm yourself with knowledge by learning about your diagnosis. Being prepared can help you stay positive. Awareness of any symptoms will lessen the shock of them as they begin to develop. Consider booking an extended session with your doctor to learn more about your diagnosis and any treatment options.
Seek out Those Like You
Not knowing what happens next can often be more scary than the diagnosis itself. Expand your support group beyond friends and family by seeking out those with the same or similar diagnosis as you. You will be able to commiserate together or look for silver linings together. But most of all, you will also learn invaluable information from those who have been there.
Focus on Other Things
Continue to enjoy the things you love. If you can no longer do those things, don’t stew over that loss. Instead, think of it as an opportunity to discover new things. When we focus on hobbies or other such things, it can keep you busy and your mind off of your diagnosis–at least for a while.
Set Small Goals
Your illness may prevent you from doing many everyday tasks. You may feel guilty that you can no longer do what you once did. Instead of berating yourself over it, set smaller goals then celebrate your victories. Over time, you’ll notice how much they add up!
Spend Time with Friends and Family
I’ve mentioned surrounding yourself with a support network a few times and it really can’t be said enough. These are the people who, without saying a word, can remind you why it is important to fight and what makes life so wonderful.
Be sure to surround yourself with those who are positive and cut out or minimize any toxic relationships. You don’t need that negativity or drama in your life. If you must spend time with people who are negative, have a trusted friend or family member by your side who is able to say no when you can’t, or ask them to leave when it is time.
Meditation and Mantras
Consider using meditation, mindful breathing, or repeating a positive mantra to center yourself when you feel like you are reeling with negative emotions and thoughts. Spending just a few minutes each day doing this can ease stress and anxiety, paving the way for more positive energy. If you need help with meditation or mindful breathing, there are plenty of apps that you can download and use for free on your smart device.
Laughter is the Best Medicine
This age old adage certainly has a lot of truth to it. Laughter has been proven to help reduce stress and anxiety. While it may be hard to laugh when you are suffering from an illness, it can help you stay in a more positive mindset. Surround yourself with those who make you laugh and put you at ease, so you don’t feel pressure to be humorous yourself.