Thriving Despite "X"

I want to put this out there very clearly: I am not concerned with the particulars of what it is you are struggling with, this information is meant to be very universal. My intention is to empower individuals to thrive in their life in spite of: pain, stress, illnesses, weight, anxiety, depression, mental health concerns, negative thinking, etc.

I’ve developed this list out of two primary mechanisms: my own personal experience as well as the passion I have for learning.  From my own experience, I’ve received diagnoses of several chronic illnesses and live my life despite the pain.  This is how I’m able to maintain employment, love, and laughter despite everything my body goes through:

  1. Do NOT allow yourself to be defined by a diagnosis: I am very rarely ever heard saying, “I have ____”.  I am very specific about my language because I am well aware that my subconscious mind is always listening. You may hear me saying things like, “I have been diagnosed with _____” because that is just a factual statement. It implies no ownership. I am very careful to view myself as a person outside of the illnesses my body has.
  2. Know your limits: Every human being alive has limits. Previously, I thought it was perfectly reasonable to be all things to all people. Now, I realize how foolish and ego driven this response is.   Know how much time and energy you have to devote to certain things.
  3. Let Go of Shame: One of the things that I was blindsided with after being diagnosed was the amount of shame I carried as a result of allowing myself to _______.  For me, in this instance it was for allowing myself to get sick.  I know other people who struggle with similar thoughts but their fill in the blank answers include: gaining weight, getting into the car (and the subsequent accident), saying no, etc.  Shame is absolutely debilitating. I have also come to realize that I couldn’t heal until I let go of the shame that I accepted.
  4. Let Go of Stress: One of my specialists actually states that if you are unable/unwilling to eliminate your stress he will not continue to provide services for you. Stress is basically the arch nemesis of health and wellbeing. I specialize in helping people let go of stress. In my life some examples of things I do to let go of stress includes: positive visualization, singing, nature, gardening, animals, as well as getting outside of myself! My list of ways to de-stress myself is basically endless.
  5. Positive Visualization: Every single day I spend time visualizing my positive, wonderful, amazing future. If you struggle with visualization then find pictures you can create in your mind. I’m not concerned with whether you are visualizing positive things or imagining positive things. The end result is always the same.
  6. Identify Positive Support: Having a toxic support system is very counter-productive. If I sense or believe that someone is toxic to me, or less than helpful, I absolutely limit my interaction with them.  I suffer no guilt for setting these limits. Who in your life is positive, supportive, and loving? Surround yourself with those types of people.
  7. Ask for help: When I received the diagnosis I talked with my family. I literally told them I could keep working or I could be responsible for cleaning the house, but I couldn’t do both. They opted to have me keep working.  If I’m having a higher pain day, I have no issue asking my husband to carry the laundry down the stairs for me. Asking for help is very empowering. In my life, I have so many people who love and care about me. Asking them for help allows them to be empowered and feel like they are doing something to help.
  8. Make Peace With Yourself: It’s impossible to heal and move forward when you are holding on to your past so tightly.  Understand that most people are doing the best they can with what they have. The truth of the matter is that my best changes from moment to moment and from situation to situation. And that’s okay.  I have made the decision to forgive myself and the rest of the world for everything that happened in my past. Resentment and anger do not serve me.
  9. Laugh…a lot: Have you heard that old expression, “laughter’s the best medicine”? There is a certain amount of truth in this statement. Besides being a distraction technique, laughter changes your vibrational frequency, and can change your perception of what you are going through.
  10. Know Yourself: Most people in the world are not skilled in the department of mindreading.  If you don’t know what you want, need, prefer, believe how can anyone else. We have a responsibility to know ourselves and to communicate what we need and want in an appropriate manner.  I know that I have a lot of energy at the beginning of the day than I do towards the end of it. As a result, if someone wants me to do something I am more likely to scheduled it in the morning.

At the end of the day, please just be kind and loving towards yourself. Know that you make a difference and you matter!

JennBovee, LCSW is a psychotherapist who’s located in Central Illinois. She offers in person therapy and Skype coaching sessions.  You can connect with her here: