Peace...

It is not uncommon for those living with chronic physical illness to frequently think about what could happen in the future. Thoughts such as, "what if my health worsens?" or "what if I end up in the hospital?" or "what if I die?" can often come up. Many times these thoughts are experienced as real; as if they are actually happening in the moment, and the physiological and emotional reactions that ensue are attached to the thoughts rather than to the reality of the here and now. The human ability to create one's own reality is astonishing; however, unfortunately many people are usually too busy creating a potential within their minds rather than living the here and now.

People living with chronic physical illness have every reason to worry about their future and the state of their health. This makes perfect sense. Sadly while people worry about what could happen later, they can miss out on living now. Thoughts are so powerful and it can be so difficult to not worry about the future; however, people forget that they create thoughts/worries, and they have the power to find peace from them as well.

What is peace? Peace is knowing that yes your health may get worse or it may get better or it may stay the same. Peace is accepting that you may die next week or you may die in ten years, but that at some point you will die. Peace is being able to say to yourself these are just thoughts I am having and I do not need to cause my body extra anxiety right now. Peace is being able to say that right now I am OK and right now I will do what I need to do. Peace is being able to acknowledge when the right now is not OK and accept what it is, while also doing what you need to do to in order to address the immediate problem. Peace is understanding the difference between thoughts and your actual presence in the moment. Peace is being able to allow your body to physiologically react and to have emotions only in response to what is happening right now.

So how does one find peace? Hard work. Thoughts need to be redirected. It takes some practice but it goes something like this: when you start to get anxious, remind yourself that you are just having thoughts and refocus on your immediate surroundings. Pay attention to who you are within the moment, what you need to do right now, all the different things in the room or environment you are in, the colors, the tastes, smells, and sounds in the present. Question how the thoughts about potential futures serve you. Trust in your ability to make a plan and cope with a difficult situation if and when it happens, rather than wasting time creating a plan that may never need to be implemented. Lastly, remind yourself that who knows what tomorrow brings; all you have is now. Be it. Be the now, whatever it may be....life that's what it is.