Coping with Change: Day to Day (Part 2)

‘How I envision my day to day activities can have a real tangible effect on how things go’

Carrying on from where I left off, I really want to discuss ‘framing’ in the second part of this topic. How I envision my day to day activities can have a real tangible effect on how things go; it’s something that’s well documented by others more qualified than myself in broader society.

‘Challenge yourself’

Again as I’ve discussed in the past, this idea is defined in Weisinger and Pawliw-Fry’s How to Perform Under Pressure. It gives an example at one point of two sets of framing;

When you see the pressure situation as a challenge, you are stimulated to give the attention and energy needed to make your best effort. One group of eighth-grade math students were given the assignment “Challenge yourself to see if you can do these problems,” while another group of eighth-graders were given the same problems with the comment “Here is your homework assignment for tomorrow.” The group for whom the situation was framed as a challenge attempted more problems and scored a better percentage correctly.

If I put this within my own framework, there are days when I get up and my body is aching from pushing myself the day before, or at the end of the day I find myself without the energy to comfortably get by. In these cases, I really need to frame things as a challenge rather than ‘struggling’ or ‘surviving’. In studying, work, or competition, I seek to apply this same mindset right across the board. This is definitely something everything can do, and really helps alleviate the feeling of pressure regardless of your own situation.

Having said this, given my MS, there are days when it is tough to continue, or to properly get started. If I’m having a bad day, I need to find a way to stop what I’m doing and get some space. It might mean abandoning my plans for the rest of the day as much as I can afford, or it might mean finding a bench to take a seat for five minutes before carrying on owning it.

If I do have to abandon plans, the overwhelming majority of people in my life are extremely understanding of my situation (and the ones that aren’t are not part of my life anymore).

Positivity

This brings me to a secondary point that ties into the first; I’ve been careful in the last year to surround myself with positive people and make sure I’m in positive situations as much as possible. If a person is being negative without reason, with as much sympathy as possible, I’ll withdraw.

I don’t really frequent internet forums much any more, which I’ve decided are often full of pointless squabbling over things that don’t often matter. This doesn’t mean I’ve withdrawn from the Internet, just that I’ve reconfigured how I use it. The Internet is too powerful a tool for change.

Wrapping up

So really I’d break down my management of things on a daily basis to two key points;

  • Planning
  • Framing, and positive mindset

On top of this I fully commit myself to whatever I’m doing, and really immerse myself in things. If I wasn’t to, I’d succumb to ennui thinking about the disease, and just get worse. With the right planning and approach, I can take this head on.

James McPherson has been a sufferer of MS for just under a year, but has attempted writing for far longer. His other posts on Medium can be found here,and he also enjoys posting nonsense on Twitter at @thesmoothjazz.