Maintaining a Positive Attitude During Illness or Injury

By Natasha Polak

People were created to be fighters – some more than others.  It’s not so much as an aggressive tendency toward harming others before they can inflict damage on us, but it is our response to being hurt that determines what will become of us.  Sometimes it does mean lashing out a someone because they make us angry or afraid, and there are countless stories of individuals who survive stabbings and shootings, are found alive after being lost in the woods or mountains for days, or who in a surge of adrenaline rescue injured people from a burning car.  But then there are times when people aren’t the cause of our pain, instead it’s caused by illnesses or injuries.  How we handle what we are dealt with determines how we heal or succumb to what ails us.

Living for the Day

In an average day, we are naturally wired to awaken, accomplish tasks, care for ourselves and others, and eventually go to sleep to do it all again in the morning.  When we are sidetracked, we lose a sense of what’s going on around us.  This is especially true when we focus on more than what we need to do for the day, and are faced with uncertainty in being able to accomplish more than we recognize is possible in 24 hours.  That itself can lead to illnesses!  When we are sick (whether as a result of our preoccupations or just dumb-luck), the body may not respond as we want, and the mind may take on a negative attitude.

Understandably, the desire for our activities and the people in our lives may fade when those thoughts begin consuming us.  The more serious the situation, the more we respond voluntarily and involuntarily.  We might feel that we have become a burden on others, sleep or cry all the time, or remain scared that life is slipping away from us.  Such prolonged worry, fear, and depression can take its toll on the body, in turn making an illness progress more rapidly, or take longer to heal.  That is why having a sense of purpose is critical to us as it is to those around us who may be overseeing our care.  If we are constantly dwelling on what’s wrong with us, or others are constantly reminding us, then we are bound to be in more pain, have more complaints, and have less of a positive outlook on our lives and health.  Granted, in some cases it is just not possible to have much control over an ailment, and death may be a reality.  But even then, there are always success stories amidst the bleak odds.  Likewise, doctors and nurses also need to have just as much optimism and remain upbeat while treating us, or else their methods may not be as effective.  Without their outlining what needs to be done, what we need to focus on during medications, treatments, and procedures, we are likely to be overwhelmed, confused, or we might just flat-out give up.

Looking For the Positives

Staying attune to our health, believing in the power of prescribed methods and treatments are going to work, and taking as active as a role as we can in our care and in caring for others who are ailing are all ways to ensure the best possible outcome.  Some ways to keep it all in perspective include:

  • volunteering for a cause
  • exercising
  • having an active church and/or social life
  • prioritizing daily tasks and accomplishing them
  • vacationing with friends and family

Staying busy through random (or planned) acts of kindness, studying spiritual concepts or social causes, achieving set goals, and having regular times to unwind and create memories with those whom we love, all help give meaning to our lives and keep us from vacillating from one extreme to another.  That way, when illness comes – which is inevitable – we can bounce back and not miss out on life for long, and/or miss out on having a better quality of life for the time that we have.


4 responses to “Maintaining a Positive Attitude During Illness or Injury

  1. I can’t agree with you more on this. If I miss my martial arts training, for a week being sick, I feel like I haven’t trained in years. I will also start to feel like I’ve gained an astronomical amount of weight when, in actuality, I haven’t at all. My tai chi/meditation training has helped me work out all the negativity, especially in the times of being sick or injured. When my neck was injured for a month or so, the meditation was what helped me heal faster, emotionally and physically. Great post:))

  2. I’m in complete agreement too Natasha. We should fight for our health. That’s a battle worth winning! When our poor health causes depression, a terrible “catch 22” begins. Staying positive -hopeful even, is crucial.

  3. Yeah, I remember when I was injured, falling from a ladder, and having my leg caught in between the rungs. Ended up with a double compound fracture,having the bones exposed out of the leg. Some people blame God for an accident that was caused out of pure stupidity. But keeping a positive attitude, and praying to heal, does the trick.
    Great article Kevin.

  4. Natasha Kohlhoff Polak

    Thanks Kevin and everyone else for your comments!! 🙂 I felt that with everything I am faced with with my own health right now, it was something for me to keep in mind every step of the way!

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