What can we do to find peace when we are struggling?
If you are struggling with anything in life, a question to ask yourself is, “what can I do on a daily basis that puts me in a position to make a difference about my situation?” It can be a small or big thing. Size is not important. It is the action taken that matters. It need not even be an active action. Just a shift in perspective and focus can move mountains.
Thinking this way is a far more productive use of our time than being angry (click here to see my article, Learning to be okay with what we view as not okay). We never reach the point of acceptance, peace, and healing, even amidst chaos, with a mindset of anger, bitterness, resentment, or regret over the past, or longing for the past. The last one being the most significant for a lot of us because a life changing health condition, or anything else life changing, can cause us a lot of difficult grief.
I have been living with chronic, persistent pain from a neurological movement disorder called Dystonia for over 20 years and it has changed my life in more ways than I could ever list. Every day comes with a different kind of an additional curve ball challenge on top of the dystonia constant that is always present. It can definitely bring me down, but if I stay in a mental state of sadness, anger, and bitterness, or any other adrenaline producing emotion, it is only going to make me more emotionally miserable and fuel more of the chemicals that drive my health problems (see the image below for how this works.
I had to make a shift. I used to live in anger every day and hated waking up because I knew I had to face some tough stuff. Now, every day I wake up looking forward to all that I can do and want to do versus all that I can’t do or no longer can do. I’m grateful for everything, even the bad stuff, and with this mindset I am able to enjoy my life now more than ever before in many ways.
Ironically, I write this on a day when I am having a really bad flareup. Rather than fume, I try and tune in to my body, slow down, and allow myself the peace of mind to try and get through this the best I can. My working phrase is, how do I make the best of a difficult situation? This keeps me proactive versus reactive.
A person who is busy kicking themselves over what has happened in the past, or biting their nails over what might happen in the future, or getting angry about what is happening in the present, is a person who is not busy with life. This is a person who is not present with themselves. I am no better than anyone else because I am sharing all of this, because I struggle like all of you, and being better than anyone else is not my goal. My goal every day is to be a better version of myself than I was the day before, for myself and for the people in my life.
To find peace and joy, we must deal with our truth every step of the way and learn the lessons. Everyone is flawed and those who can be vulnerable can become strong, powerful, and inspirational. As the famous quote goes, “The most beautiful stones have been tossed by the wind and washed by the waters and polished to brilliance by life’s strongest storms.”
What steps can you take to get to where you want to be? To explore this more, please take time being with yourself, no matter what is right or wrong. Just sit and be present with whatever is going on, breathing and letting go the best you can. Answers are more likely to come to you in these moments. Please also read one or both of my books (Diagnosis Dystonia: Navigating the Journey and Beyond Pain and Suffering: Adapting to Adversity and Life Challenges) and if you want to go a step further, click here to schedule a free life coaching consult with me and we can work together to learn strategies for making the best out of difficult situations.
Tom Seaman is a Certified Professional Life Coach in the area of health and wellness, and the author of 2 books: Diagnosis Dystonia: Navigating the Journey (2015) and Beyond Pain and Suffering: Adapting to Adversity and Life Challenges (2021). He is also a motivational speaker, chronic pain and dystonia awareness advocate, health blogger, volunteer for the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation (DMRF) as a support group leader, and is a member and writer for Chronic Illness Bloggers Network, The Mighty, and Patient Worthy. To learn more about Tom, get a copy of his books (also on Amazon), or schedule a free life coaching consult, visit www.tomseamancoaching.com. Follow him on Twitter @Dystoniabook1 and Instagram.