Don’t Overlook Emotional Wellness When Dealing With Chronic Illness
Paying attention to emotional well-being is not easy for some of us. It’s often easy to sweep our emotions under the rug and work on autopilot until we burn out. Then we rinse and repeat this toxic cycle.
But pretending everything is okay when it isn’t is just as unhealthy as not talking about emotions at all. Coping with unhealthy conditions can lead to even more emotional damage and more trauma.
As part of Emotional Wellness Month, I would like to offer this thought: Our emotional well-being is an essential part of our general well-being. And because our emotional health is so closely related to our physical health, it is even more important for people dealing with chronic illness to have healthy coping strategies for dealing with emotions. It can literally mean the difference between life and death in some cases.
The mind-body connection is real. I know that I don’t feel good physically when my emotional health is out of whack and I am filled with anxious thoughts, feelings of depression, and heartbreaking grief. I get symptoms of nausea, muscle tension, and terrible headaches. And that often adds to the emotional turmoil I feel. Sometimes I experience a trauma reaction that affects me emotionally and physically and can lead to even worse symptoms.
Learning what it means to be emotionally healthy took time.
I am learning that in order to feel better, I can try to choose my thoughts to help me set the tone for my day. Before I get up each day, I say a prayer that will help bring my mind into a healthy room. When I am anxious or stressed, I pray several times a day.
Talking to someone I trust also helps me focus and guide my thinking. Walking in nature or listening to music that calms me down also helps me choose my thoughts. Sometimes I need an ugly scream to clear my head. It is helpful to have different coping strategies.
Having a chronic illness means that much of our physical health is out of our control. But maintaining our emotional health can help us regain some of that control. The mind-body connection shows us that taking care of our emotional health can have a positive effect on our physical wellbeing.
Note: Cystic Fibrosis News Today is a news and information website about the disease only. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always contact your doctor or other qualified health care provider with questions about any medical condition. Never disregard or hesitate to seek professional medical advice because you have read something on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cystic Fibrosis News Today or its parent company BioNews and are intended to encourage discussion on issues related to cystic fibrosis.