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My 5 New Year’s Resolutions as a Person With an Invisible Illness

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I have heard from multitudes of people that 2016 has been difficult, if not disastrous. As I heal and enter into my next phase of working to bring another angel into this world, I realize that, for me, 2016 has come with many ups and many downs. I’ve had some of the greatest moments in my life this year and, honestly, some of my worst.

I’m trying to discover the lessons the difficult times and amazing times have taught me. With that said, I’m sharing my New Year’s resolutions in the hopes that some of you can relate to certain changes. 

1. I’m an overthinker, a worry wart and a person who logically knows things work out, but I still find it difficult not to worry. I don’t know what came first: anxiety or chronic pain. Anxiety and chronic pain can become a vicious cycle. Anxiety increases pain and pain increases anxiety.

I’m going to truly work on changing my thoughts. Once I begin thinking about something that worries to me to no end, I go into catastrophic mode and start thinking months and years into the future, wondering what will happen, when it will happen and how it will happen.

And then I start thinking about the what if’s. I’m going to start deleting “what if’s” from my conscious mind and my vocabulary. 

I’m going to practice following my dreams but not forcing my dreams. I need to allow things to come into my life with open arms instead of worrying my dreams won’t come to fruition. Like the saying goes, “Worrying is like paying interest on a debt you will probably never owe.”

2. I find myself comparing myself and my life with other people’s lives, which is not only illogical but causes me sadness. As far as I’ve come in my journey with chronic pain, I still find myself almost annoyed when I see someone in acute pain (pain that only lasts hours or, at most, days). People with chronic pain would be thrilled to have acute pain, however, my reality is chronic pain and comparing myself to other people’s lives steals my inner peace and joy. I should applaud myself for how far I have come and what I great life I have despite my invisible illness.

3. I’ve started practicing yoga more and have lessened the amount of cardio I do for both chronic pain and anxiety. For about two weeks, I’ve practiced yoga sessions each morning and see how much it truly touches my body, mind and spirit. It’s not only the poses and exercises I love. It’s the words coming from the instructor’s voice. I learn a lot of lessons both consciously and subconsciously as I move through each pose. I never imagined yoga would teach me so much. 

4. I need to chill out. I become so consumed with fear of the future and thoughts from my past that I forget to live in the present moment. I used to tell my patients: “Yesterday is history, tomorrow a mystery, today is a gift and that is why it is called the present.” 

It’s so easy to say aloud or even write down, but living in the present is one of the most difficult things to do. We are rarely fully present and miss out on so much of life’s blessings and joys because we are always thinking ahead. 

I’ve found that if I focus on my breathing and calm myself down when I start getting anxious about the future (even if the future thought is 10 minutes ahead of me), I can bring myself back to the present time. 

5. Finally, I need to tap into my faith. I need to surrender my dreams to the universe and allow what’s going to come into my life to come without worry or grief. I need to believe, surrender and let go. I plan to truly take one day at a time. Some days will be difficult and some days will be amazing, but there is some joy in every day.

One of the last presents I gave my grandmother before she passed was a magnet that says: “We do not remember days, we remember moments.” I think in this coming year we all need to cultivate more faith into our lives and let go and be led towards what I believe is our divine plan.

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Lead photo source: Thinkstock Images

Originally published: December 31, 2016
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