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3 Affirmations and Journaling Prompts for Chronic Illness Self-Advocacy

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Learning to become a strong self-advocate is crucial to living well with a chronic illness. Self-advocacy involves taking a more active role in managing your illness and fighting for your health and your needs. The reality is that no one understands your symptoms and your needs as much as you do, so it’s important to take the steps and the actions that will get you the most improvement in your quality of life and the best care possible. This may involve doing research, preparing and asking questions, tracking symptoms, making a care plan, getting second opinions, building a support system, requesting accommodations, etc. While this does take a considerable amount of energy, part of self-advocacy can also involve assembling a dependable team of friends and/or family members who can help you and support you along the way!

My recently-released book, “The Healing Journal: Guided Prompts & Inspiration for Life With Illness,” is full of positive affirmations and journaling prompts that are suited to help empower patients with chronic illness to cope and adjust to life with illness, as well as develop strong self-advocacy skills.

The Healing Journal cover

Below are three illustrated affirmations and journaling prompts for promoting self-advocacy from “The Healing Journal.”

I am in charge of decisions about my health.

Affirmation: I am in charge of decisions about my health.

Journaling Prompt: Describe the actions you take on a daily basis to manage your illness. What are some decisions or changes you’ve made recently that have improved your well-being?

It’s important to remember that you are the expert on your body and your health. The above affirmation and related prompt are intended to help you claim that power and reflect on the ways the decisions you’ve made (and will continue to make) related to your health have benefitted you. Of course, we value and respect the recommendations of doctors and other types of healers we consult to manage our illnesses, but ultimately, we decide what we put into our bodies and what treatments we decide to pursue.

I vocalize my needs to those around me.

Affirmation: I vocalize my needs to those around me.

Journaling Prompt: List some accommodations you can make or request at work, at school, and/or at home to help you better perform daily tasks/routines within your physical limits.  Describe how you can best communicate to others the accommodations you need.

It can sometimes be uncomfortable to ask for accommodations in order to better perform jobs, schooling, or household duties, but learning to effectively communicate your needs can be greatly beneficial to improving your quality of life. Being in tune with your body and recognizing what tasks are challenging due to your illness or disability is the first step to advocating for accommodations. Thanks to the Americans With Disabilities Act, most employers and schools should be equipped to work with you to put necessary accommodations in place, but they won’t know what you need until you ask. Vocalizing your needs is an important part of self-advocacy!

I educate myself the best I can about my illness.

Affirmation: I educate myself the best I can about my illness.

Journaling Prompt: Describe how you have gathered (or plan to gather) information about your illness.

Becoming knowledgeable about the illness(es) you live with can help you become a strong advocate for yourself. By being informed, you are better equipped to know what questions to ask at medical appointments, what testing or treatments to inquire about, what lifestyle changes to make, etc. Researching and educating yourself may involve reading about your illness online or in books, but it also may involve connecting with other patients who live with the same illness(es) as you, either online or in person, and finding out what has helped others cope and manage their illness. Knowledge is power, and education is a great way to empower yourself as a self-advocate.

If these affirmations and journaling prompts resonated with you, you can find 50 affirmations and over 100 journaling prompts in “The Healing Journal,” which is available everywhere books are sold. Beyond just focusing on becoming an advocate for yourself, the topics covered in the journal include cultivating self-compassion and positive self-worth, developing self-care routines uniquely suited to you and your illness, navigating the emotional toll of living with illness, and more.

Utilizing positive affirmations regularly and keeping a journal are ways to improve your physical and emotional well-being and play a more active role in managing your health. May these affirmations serve as a reminder that you have the power to take charge of your healing and become a strong self-advocate!

Learn more at Emily Sunez Books.

Originally published: April 14, 2022
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