How to Stay Hopeful

Do you remember being excited as a child when your birthday was near?

Many of us still get excited as adults when our birthday approaches. I know I do! I absolutely love getting older. Each new year is a blessing. Birthdays are special. It is a day full of anticipation and excitement.

You daydreamed about the amazing party planned just for you and all the wonderful gifts received. You had hope. You hoped your special day was magical. You hoped your day was fun. You hoped your day was exciting.

Sadly, what many experience as a result of chronic pain or chronic illness (arthritis, MS, lupus, cancer, and fibromyalgia) is the opposite of that excitement and joy one feels about birthdays. Countless doctor’s visits, pain pills, infusion treatments, chemotherapy, etc and the pain does not improve or it actually gets worse takes a toll. You watch helplessly as the life you once enjoyed evaporates into nothingness. No joy, no fun, no excitement, just pain. Life takes on a feeling of emptiness that engulfs everything. When you smile or laugh or are outwardly enjoying yourself that feeling of emptiness lurks in the shadows threatening to eat your soul. That feeling is hopelessness.

Nothing seems to work. There is no improvement. There is no cure. There is no excitement about life. There is a never-ending cycle of appointments, pills and of course pain. The pain is the worst. It gnaws at you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There is no escape from it.

Hopelessness is a dangerous state. It dampens and darkens everything. The sun doesn’t shine as brightly, colors aren’t as bright as they once were and even your face changes under the weight that constant pain causes. Hopelessness can lead to depression. It can lead to prescription pain-killer dependency (drug addiction) and even more heart ache and pain.

However, even when we are in the throes of pain, we have a choice. We can consciously choose life. We can consciously choose joy. We can consciously choose hope.

Choosing joy, hope and your life are not easy tasks when in pain every day, but it is possible. You choose joy, hope and life by:

1. Staying present – Don’t mentally, emotionally or spiritually check out of your own life. When we check out, we take on an ‘it doesn’t matter attitude’ about our own life. It does matter. Your pain matters, your life matters and you matter. Stay vested in your physical, emotional, and spiritual care.

a. Continue to see your doctor – Changes happen every day in the medical field. Ask your physician about new medical treatments and what you can do to improve your day-to-day life. However, slight the improvement is, any improvement is better than no improvement. Honestly we all want to be pain-free and hope that life goes back to what it used to be. Chances are that will not happen. Time doesn’t travel backwards. Create a new reality. Life is not the same but it can still be great.

b. Take notes when the doctor talks – Research everything the doctor talks about in your visit. Doctors are human. As unbiased as they are trained to be, they are still biased to some degree. It’s human nature. I learned doctors give better care when they know you care about you! Ask questions in a respectful way. Create an open dialogue. Communication is key. If you are physically or mentally unable to do this, always have a medical advocate with you. You want the best care? Be a vested patient.

c. Be grateful – If you recognize that you are in less pain today than on yesterday, be grateful for less pain. Yes, we all want to be pain-free but honestly that is not always possible. Learn to be grateful. Say ‘thank you’ for something every day. Gratitude heightens your spiritual awareness and connection and it makes you feel better emotionally and physically. Pray, mediate and pray some more to help you stay connected to you and your higher power.

Romans 5:1-5New International Version (NIV)
Peace and Hope

5 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[b]boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

2. Be optimistic – Is the glass half empty or half full? If you are alive the glass is half full. Pain makes you feel empty sometimes. Make a conscious decision to view life optimistically. Optimism changes the course of your day and ultimately your life.

3. Don’t play the role of victim – Playing the role of a victim essentially means taking on a ‘woe is me’ mentally. This means life happens to you and you are a victim of life circumstances. While it is true we cannot control what happens in life, we can choose how we respond to what happens in life. You can be a victim or a victor. The choice is yours.

Remaking hopeful in the middle of trials, illness, and pain is all about the choices we make day in and day out. Yes, you will have sad moments and sometimes sad days but you don’t have to stay down. Life is at times difficult. It is your choice to be hopeful or hopeless.

Choose HOPE!

Live Joyfully
Kimberly

Kimberly is a life coach and author who specializes in working with people with chronic pain or chronic illness.
Want the support of a life coach that understands chronic pain visit.
http://joyfullivingwithkimberlydixon.com/.
Ask about my post-TRK support calls!

Joyful Living

Joyful Living

For more information on arthritis, preparing for total knee replacement and what to expect after TKR check out my books. Available at http://goo.gl/QaqFF6

I Have Arthritis, Now What? (Ways to Manage Arthritis Pain)

I Have Arthritis, Now What? (Ways to Manage Arthritis Pain)

I Need a Knee Replacement, Now What? (How to Prepare for Knee Replacement Surgery)

I Need a Knee Replacement, Now What? (How to Prepare for Knee Replacement Surgery)

I Had a Knee Replacement, Now What? (What to Expect After Knee Replacement Surgery)

I Had a Knee Replacement, Now What? (What to Expect After Knee Replacement Surgery)

I Had a Knee Replacement, Now What? (Six Week Companion Journal)

I Had a Knee Replacement, Now What? (Six Week Companion Journal)

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Categories : Well-being