When I think of healing, maybe it’s just me, but my mind goes straight to food, supplements, and fitness. Mindset, attitude, and outlook are usually put on the back burner to what I am eating that day, the components of my workout, and how many hours of sleep I get that night. All of those things are vastly important, but being a few years into my healing journey, I would now argue that mindset is on the same level, if not even higher in one’s pursuit of health. When the majority of my thoughts began to stem from my disease, and my very actions controlled by my sort of depressing perception of reality, I realized that something had to change. I, myself, was defining who I was by one little aspect of my life. There was so much more to who I was, what I valued at the core of my beliefs, and to life in general. As I began to force myself to make steps towards small changes, I found myself feeling happier, more optimistic, and seeing life in a totally new light. Now this is not to discount what balancing your hormones, correcting deficiencies, and healing the physical body can do for your mind in of itself. Healing your physical body WILL play a HUGE role in your mindset, emotions, and attitude. It is totally true that when your body feels better, YOU feel better, and your mind thinks better. But, even while you are on that healing journey, there are steps that can be taken to aid in your healing, and find joy even without 100% health. I have pinpointed the four top mindset changes I made that helped to jumpstart my healing! Let’s get started!
#1: Release of Guilt
-When I first got diagnosed with Crohn’s, I immediately resorted to blaming myself. I thought, what might have been different if I would have started eating healthier earlier (I had started 2.5 years prior to diagnosis). What toxins or chemicals had I ignored exposing my body to that let it get this far? Why does everyone else that lives much worse lifestyles than I did seem perfectly healthy? The truth is, we are often predisposed to autoimmune diseases through genetics, and sometimes we are going to inherit them no matter what, and other times it is an environmental trigger that awakens it. Life is an endless trail of learning. One where we can look back only a couple of years and see a totally different, unrecognizable person to who we are today. It is important to remember that we did not have the same knowledge we have now when we made different choices. We had to gain that knowledge through life experience, whether that be through formal education, relationships with others, or simply curiosity. So we can’t look back and blame ourselves for decisions we made when we were ignorant of today’s knowledge, and we also must highlight that we can’t change the past. No amount of regret or worry can change the decisions we once made, but our current selves can use those experiences to guide others.
#2: Release of Control/Gaining Acceptance:
-This is not to mean that I lost hope of health, or that I didn’t believe that I had any control of improving my health based on the choices I could make now. What I mean by releasing control is simply that I realized I did not have ultimate control, and that was okay. I have always been a control freak, and a perfectionist. Two things that seem to go hand-in-hand. If I can’t do something perfectly, I don’t want to do it at all. If I can’t be the one regulating every step of a process or plan, that scenario is just not for me. This is something that I have struggled with my entire life. The thing is, thousands of things happen in our lives that are outside of our realm of control, and having an uptight, unwilling to budge state of mind only makes that worse. When we adopt a “go-with-the-flow” mentality and find beauty in every wave of life, this mindset can start to be broken down.
#3: Release of Fear
-Going back to the control thing, what I can’t control, I tend to fear. After feeling like I successfully made it through releasing control, the release of fear just kind of came naturally. Why fear what we have no control over? It only causes stress, anxiety, and loss of sleep, which then turns into more sickness and a less than fulfilled life. I’m not saying I’m perfect at this, but fear is not a part of my personality like it use to be. Plus, when fearful thoughts start to creep in, I have go to verses and quotes that keep my mind steady. My favorite verse on this topic is 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”. We were created to trust in something greater than us. Christ knew that life would bring troubles far beyond our power to control. These unknowns only build our trust in Christ even more, growing our relationship, and teaching us to loosen our grip. And even if that isn’t your personal belief, we were made for community and relationship. We exist to build connections, rely on one another, and all use our gifts to benefit those surrounding us. We can bind together to foster community built on support, love, encouragement, and true genuine friendship.
#4: Adopting a Grateful Attitude
-Physically, would I choose to have Crohn’s Disease? No, of course not. Am I grateful for the passion it has given me for holistic health, all of the friendships I have made through the common connection of IBD or health issues, and the opportunity to share my passions with others standing on the platform of my struggles? Absolutely! Last night, I was laying in bed thinking about and wondering how different of a person I would be without IBD. What would I even be passionate about? What message would I be trying to spread to others? What career would I be pursuing? I can almost guarantee EVERYTHING would be so different! I love where I am in my life, and the opportunities to connect with others I have been given because of it.
Those are the top 4 mindset changes that transformed my outlook, and truly, played a ginormous role in my healing. I would love to hear any steps you took on your health journey that made an impact! Share your experience in the comments below, or on Instagram!