Friday, May 9, 2008

Mind Over The Matter of Lyme Disease

Chronic illnesses, such as Lyme disease, may create a vicious cycle of depression, muscle atrophy, and other illnesses brought on by body and mind inactivity.

What do you do to break the cycle?

First, many chronic illnesses include pain. Your body needs activity and stretching. This does not mean that you need to train for a marathon. This just means that you need to set goals for activity. By setting goals, I mean to say that you write them on your calendar and check them off.

First, drink plenty of water. You should drink at least 64 ounces of water each day unless you are overweight. If you are overweight, increase your water intake and discuss with your physician what amount will be appropriate for your weight. To create a habit of being properly hydrated, document your daily water intake. Mark this off as one of your goals.

Secondly, from the time you wake up to the time you go to bed, say thank you (in your mind) for all of the little things. You can say "Thank you that I have a bed with blankets and a pillow to sleep in.", "Thank you that I have modern plumbing", "Thank you that I have a warm shower (or bath)", and on and on. Your mind will turn from your frustrations with your illness to the wonderful things you are thankful for around you.

"Happier thoughts lead to essentially a happier biochemistry. A happier, healthier body. Negative thoughts and stress have been shown to seriously degrade the body and the functioning of the brain, because it's our thoughts and emotions that are continuously reassembling, reorganizing, re-creating our body."
--Dr. John Hagelin, The Secret

Third, go outside. Take a walk to the end of the driveway if that is your first goal. Then, stretch yourself to reach further destinations. By getting outside you will find that you don't get that closed-in feeling like living in a cave, you get vitamin D from the natural sunlight, and you get exercise and circulated air.

Next, extend your exercise routine to include lifting weights. These may be only 1 pound weights, however, the use of these weights will increase your strength, and doing weight lifting exercises helps to increase your bone density.

Remember, following your exercise routine, no matter if it is a walk to the end of your driveway, lifting weights, or other exercises you choose, your muscles need stretching. Now that you are strengthening your muscles, you need to lengthen. You will find that using exercise and stretching alleviates much of the pain and anxiety you have felt from being chronically ill.

Nutrition is extremely important. Talk to your doctor about the best diet/nutrition and supplement program for you. Mangosteen and Noni Juice (liquid forms) have made a great deal of difference for me, in addition to Bio 35, Vitamin D, and important food choices.

For those with chronic illness, more sleep is usually very key in helping to create a more healthy person. Be sure that you sleep when you need to, however, don't linger in bed when unnecessary or the atrophy/depression cycle recurs.

Don't lay down and watch brainless TV. Pick up a good, uplifting book. I regularly read my scriptures, The Secret, Joel Olsteen books, and others. I also love a good political thriller. These books will help your brain to stay awake and out of the fog of chronic illness.

Find a hobby. I find that making my friends and relative homemade cards is great fun. I also love to blog, read, play board games with my kids (which can be done while I am laying down, if need be), and many others. These hobbies will help you to learn about your talents, as well as keep your mind off of your illness.

"...I crashed an airplane. I ended up in the hospital completely paralyzed. My spinal cord was crushed...I couldn't eat or drink, my diaphragm was destroyed, I couldn't breathe. All I could do was blink my eyes. The doctors, of course, said that I'd be a vegetable the rest of my life. All I'd be able to do is blink my didn't matter what they thought. The main thing was what I thought. I pictured myself being a normal person again, walking out of that hospital.

The only thing I had to work with in the hospital was my mind, and once you have your mind, you can put things back together again."

...I had set a goal to walk out of the hospital on Christmas. And I did. I walked out of the hospital on my own two feet. They said it couldn't be done. That's a day I will never forget.

For people who are sitting out there right now and are hurting, if I wanted to sum up my life and sum up for people what they can do in life, I would sum it up in six words:'Man becomes what he thinks about'."
--Morris Goodman, The Secret

I have had the attitude during my time with Lyme disease that I would contribute to society in any way possible and that my disease was a temporary thing. Currently, I have been off of my antibiotics for about four weeks, have no co-infection, and am doing quite well. This is not without great effort. However, following 8 years of illness, I expect there to be effort involved in my wellness.

Life is great! No matter your chronic illness, you can overcome many of your challenges by challenging your body and your mind in positive ways. I promise that this mind-body connection is strong and by utilizing these methods you will see wonderful results with your search for wellness.

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