It’s not always easy to be positive with a disability, especially in the beginning. It’s hard to see your friends do things that you can’t. The stares are hard to ignore, and there are people who simply don’t want to understand your situation. It doesn’t make life any easier, but that doesn’t mean that happiness is impossible. Every disability is different, and we each have unique obstacles to conquer.
Here are a few things that I do to stay positive and happy:
Blast your favorite music: Science has found that music can help to ease anxiety and depression. I listen to music every morning to kick-start my day or to make a dreaded task more fun. So rock out, get loose, and don’t be afraid to shake it!
Go outside: Ever watched the movie “The Shining?” As Jack Nicholson’s character would say, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” If you lock yourself up long enough you will become a dull boy! So, just get some fresh air, take some deep breaths, and clear your mind. You’ll be surprised how much this will lift your spirits.
Hang out with a friend: Being around someone you love and who loves you will give you that distraction you need. It can be easy to get stuck in your own world when you have a disability, so make it a priority to spend time with your friends.
Meditate: I’ve only recently discovered meditation, and it’s a lot easier than I thought it would be. There are guided meditations for all sorts of specific needs. It’s good for releasing all that negative energy.
Things to remember
Go with the flow: Having a disability is all about acceptance. James Patterson wrote in one of his books, “The more you go with the flow, the more whole you’ll be. The more you resist, the more pain you’ll feel.”
Count your blessings: I know it sounds cliché, but doing this has really made a difference for me. Whether you write it down in a journal or say it in your prayers at night, you’ll feel a difference once your awareness shifts from focusing on your problems to your blessings.
Smile at people who stare: For some reason, people tend to analyze people with disabilities. Let them know that you’re friendly and approachable. Some will smile back, some won’t. But that’s their problem, not yours. When I was younger and before I learned this trick, someone staring at me could ruin my day. But now, I have a thicker skin and don’t give it a second thought.
Things could be worse: There’s always someone out there wishing they had your problems. Not to say that your life is any easier than theirs or that they understand. Every time I’m in the hospital, I always think about the other kids who are having seizures or have a bleed in the brain. It really puts things into perspective.
There’s good in the bad: The yin and yang symbol comes to mind. The black represents the bad and the white is the good; they are part of each other. Without the bad, how can good exist? The good might be harder to find sometimes, but it’s there in every situation. I’m so grateful for the beautiful life I have because I know what it’s like to have almost lost it.
Look for the extraordinary in the ordinary: There are positive little miracles happening every day, all around you. For me it’s things like getting out of a relapse or a new doctor who is dedicated to helping me.
See your problems as potential teachers: Whether it’s to teach yourself or someone else, our struggles exist for a reason. Take this post, for example. How can I try to help you with your struggles without having lived through some of my own? Life is one big story and, like this column, those can be used to uplift someone else someday.
You are not your problems: This is taught a lot in meditation. Knowing that your struggles are not a part of you but a manifestation of the outside world is a big load off your shoulders and makes it easier to release those emotions.
You are only human: We’d all love to have superpowers but we don’t. It’s OK to be upset or to get frustrated or be sad. We can’t do everything and it’s unfair to expect perfection out of ourselves.
Trust fate: Want to know how to make God laugh? Tell him your plans — he’ll get a kick out of that. What messes us up most in life is how we think things should be. Jeremiah 29:11: “I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm. Plans to give you hope and a future.”
Note: Muscular Dystrophy News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Muscular Dystrophy News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to muscular dystrophy.