Multiple Sclerosis is a Life Sentence

How a Chronic Illness Positively Changed My World.

What an incredible disease!

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is considered one of the most debilitating neurological disorders out there, and I have it!

While being diagnosed, I began thinking how this new path was a positive thing. Three years later, this mentality has not faltered.

Any chronic illness is no joke, but when you’re living with it, it’s vital to focus on the positive side of it. Our minds are incredibly powerful and impacts all areas of life.

When you focus on problems, you get more problems. When you focus on possibilities, you have more opportunities. — Zig Ziglar

Instead of researching what is MS is, I instantly began researching everything related to “How to successfully live with a chronic illness.”

Within the last 36 months, what I discovered is anyone can implement these ancient teachings. By focusing on improving different areas of my life each day, I know that my “Life Sentence” is the best gift I ever received.

I can’t say I’m amazing at everything, but by doing a little everyday, I know it’s moving me towards a happier and healthier lifestyle.

1. Eat Old School

After talking with a lot of health professionals over the years, it was a financial advisor who really hit it on the head for me. When it comes to your diet, “if you don’t know who killed it or picked it, don’t eat it!”

With a chronic illness, there are so many foods to avoid in order to keep those flare ups stagnant. What really increased my energy was when I simply eliminated processed foods and dairy products.

If you really think about how unnatural dairy products are, you’ll gross yourself out enough to not want a glass of milk again.

Simply put, eat healthier! Don’t try to be perfect, just healthier than the day before!

2. Move Your Body

There’s been so much research done with regards to the benefits of exercising in general. From your mind, productivity, energy levels, and physical health, this is something to get in the habit with.It doesn’t even have to be much, but it needs to be consistent.

I was a lab rat at Marquette University for a few months where every week I learned some ballroom dancing. Nearly all the participants experienced better health, energy, less pain, better sleeping habits, better appetite, etc.

At minimum, go for a 10 minute walk. For some people, it may be as simple as hand-washing the dishes for a workout — some days this activity knocks me out!

3. Use Your Energy Wisely

This one is absolutely fantastic. One of the most obvious symptoms people call me out for is fatigue. The littlest activities have the ability to put me on the couch for an entire day…to meditate!

Aligning my actions according to the Spoon Theory helps me evaluate which actions are most important to do that day. Putting them in a hierarchal order the night before guarantees daily productivity in some way.

Using Evernote and a daily planner help me remember what needs to be completed in terms of priority and urgency.

4. Thinking About Thinking

The mind is the most powerful force in all of creation. Depending on the research you find, you’ll learn we have anywhere from 20k-80k thoughts each day — even those with a neurological disorder.

The thoughts we have create emotions; the emotions we experience is what affects our physical body whether it’s our health or daily actions. If I choose to start whining about the tiny little symptoms I experience, I’m going to create more symptoms to whine about.

Main tip, control your thoughts as much as possible. We already thought ourselves ill, no need to make it worse!

5. Daily Practice of Gratitude

You’ve seen the movie or read the book, “The Secret” haven’t you? In this incredible book they discuss a gratitude rock where you think of something your grateful for every time you touch it.

It works best by keeping the rock in your pocket during the day and take it out at night; this guarantees you say what you’re grateful for at least twice.

After attending Jack Canfield’s “One Day to Greatness” event in Chicago last Fall, during lunch he talked about his morning routine. Within his morning ritual, America’s Number One Success Coach told us he focuses the first few minutes of each morning thinking of everything he is grateful for.

Wanting to improve my life just like you want to improve yours, I began waking up and instantly thinking of a few things I’m thankful to have in my life. Such a phenomenal way to start your day. Try it tomorrow morning and notice the shift in your energy!

6. Live Your Life Sentence

Be joyful by living passionately and purposefully. While being diagnosed, everyone kept saying, “it’s not a death sentence.” Cool, neither is cancer until you die.

After talking for some time with a friend, she looked at me seriously and said, “You’ve been given a gift. It’s the gift of life. The day you found out MS exists is the day you truly began living.”

This aligns perfectly with “thinking about thinking.” By choosing to think about how I now have a reason to truly live, my actions and emotions have been following suit.

Even though I’ve had MS for most my life, it’s only been 3 years since I’ve known of its abilities to my central nervous system. Granted, I’m still an infant in this Spoonie world but practicing the ancient teachings of success, my health will always be improving. Yours easily can too!

Have you found what works for you?