Resilience and inner strength are so important when you're a chronic illness warrior, but it can also be difficult to find them with so much going on. Locating that strength within yourself can help with your health and mental health as you continue your battle.
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Welcome to the chronically living and how to make the most of it podcast. I'm Kelsey Harris, a chronic pain warrior here to inspire hope and strength to the spoony community, get ready to lift each other up and find ways to live the best life possible. Everyone, thanks for tuning in today, this week's topic is all about strength, and more specifically inner strength. Why? Because it's needed when dealing with chronic illness, as probably many of you know. So to get started, let me explain the concept of inner strength. So it's part of our psychological well being a health and well being that promotes the use of spirituality, acceptance, and both self acceptance and acceptance of our circumstances, our relationships with those in our lives and resilience. Dingli and Busch published an article in 2000, about the concept of inner strength and found a few things. First, there were certain attributes associated with it, such as the process of growth in transition, because we're ultimately forever changing, confronting a life experience, like your chronic illness, deepening of self knowledge. So like reflection and compassion are needed here, in my opinion, understanding our needs and how to have those meant. So I would say, especially our health needs, being connected with others, keeping your family and friends close and focused interaction on the environment, which to me indicates the use of mindfulness. So these researchers found that those who have who build inner strength end up being self determined, typically have a self positive self concept, and increase their psychological well being. So I think these are great reasons to have or rather to develop, and they're shrink. So what about inner strength when it comes to chronic illness? Jenkinson and Cantrell published an article in 2016, that showed that there's some correlation to show that women who have chronic illness, and a lot of inner strength can positively affect their quality of life well being and a deepening sense of spirituality. So I do want to point out that correlation does not indicate causation. So it could be the other way around, we don't really know. How can we develop this inner strength, though, isn't just natural for some people, and not for others. I mean, there are definitely people who are more resilient than others I did. So I had to do a family genogram project for school in my last course. And I was actually able to trace resilience in my family going back three generations with very specific examples. So this includes myself as I have dealt with my illness over the past five years. And of course, it took pretty much that long to get an actual diagnosis, after being misdiagnosed, and, and all that as well. I also agree that mindfulness is really needed, we have to stay present and connected to our bodies and the world. By doing so we can let ourselves experience change and utilize our resources. This may start with all this acceptance, which I talked about back in Episode 10, if you haven't listened to that one yet. inner strength may also be connected to self management skills. Okay, so now what does this mean? throwing all these concepts out here, so Shulman green at all, published an article in 2012, on the processes of self management and chronic illness, a number of these are related to strength in one way or another. So the first is the utilization of healthcare resources. So I'm going to ask you some questions and just use need to think about them. Do you have the right health care providers? are you communicating effectively with them? Are you involved in your healthcare decision making? Or are you leaving it up to them? Are you scheduling your appointments as needed? Are you using all the resources available to you? And do you revisit your health care plans with your providers? Wondering how many of these questions you answered yes to. The second self management process is utilizing our psychological resources. Solomon gonna ask you a bunch more questions. Are you creatively using your intrinsic resources? Are you finding strength in your past experiences Are you being courageous, disciplined and motivated in your life? Are you positive and hopeful about the future? Do you feel you have self worth? And do you advocate for yourself? Think about how many of these you answered yes to the final processes spiritual resources. And remember, we're not necessarily talking religion, just spirituality in general, however, that may manifest for you. Do you acknowledge a higher power? It is the wisest to be impartial. If you have health but are attached to it, you will always be afraid of losing it. And if you fear that loss, but become ill, you will suffer. Why not remain forever joyful in the self? That's from paramahansa Yogananda. So, Yogananda was, of course, an Indian monk, Yogi and guru famous for his meditation teaching and that of Kriya Yoga. So we know our mind, our bodies and minds are connected. We've talked about that before. In fact, our pain receptors are actually in our brain. So the other thing is, you know, a good example, I guess, is when we are stressed, we often feel it in our bodies, often our neck and our shoulders. Another example is that autoimmune diseases often triggered by stress. And stress can also make flares occur as well. So you're going to and his quote really makes me think, was I attached to my health beforehand? I suppose most of us are, even if we aren't consciously aware of it. It makes sense that we suffer psychologically when we lose our health, depression and anxiety are very common in those with chronic illness. So can we be present? And at least content if not happy with our lives? Can we do this with chronic illness? I like to believe we can. However, it's not necessarily an easy journey. It's one that requires a lot of work. Like with all those self management processes I mentioned before, it's something that requires inner strength, being joyous, whether or not you're healthy, what a concept. Now granted, Yogananda didn't have a chronic illness, at least not as far as I've been able to find out. He died of heart failure 1952. Perhaps he shouldn't weigh in on something he doesn't know about. More, perhaps he is right. And you really get to choose on this one. Whether or not you agree with Yogananda developing inner strength is a skill that you might want to work on. The thing about chronic illness is, well, it's chronic. It's like, it's likely not going to go away anytime soon. How are you going to live your life while you have it. I have this one example. From my days of working in retail. We had a regular customer at a store who was in a wheelchair and was blind. I'm not sure how much he could actually see. I know he could see a little bit though. He was also incredibly grumpy. And he acted like an A hole to all the staff, whether they were extremely nice and helpful, or trying to stay away. And to be honest, eventually everyone was trying to stay away. Now I don't know his life circumstances or what happened to him. And honestly, I feel empathy for him, because I don't think that people start out that way. And he may have had many experiences of people treating him terribly because of his condition. And now he just expects that from everyone. I have no idea. What I do know is that we get a choice in how we live our lives. The more we develop our inner strength, the more likely we are not to become someone who no one wants to be around. Why? Because we have positive psychological health and well being. We accept our circumstances, we utilize spirituality, and we are resilient. I hope this episode gives you something to reflect on. I know I've been doing a lot of reflecting about it as well. everyone, have a great week, and keep making the most. Thank you so much for joining me today on the chronically living podcast. If you love this week's podcast, please subscribe, rate and leave a review. Until next week, stay strong.