If you get to the end of this blog post – you will definitely join the You Own It Facebook Group!

“Why?” you ask.

“Because it’s just what you need” I respond.

Now grab yourself a cup of tea and jot down your answers to the three questions below…

Are you existing or are you living?

If your answer to this question is living – then whoopee doo that’s great news. Keep reading anyway. If you believe yourself to be struggling to cope with health, or disempowered by an illness, then you may feel you are just existing. Try not to worry if this is your answer because you can change all this – by creating a purpose! Go on now and answer question 2.

What mindset do you currently hold?

Think of your mindset as a passport or driving license. Certain ones will only allow you to go so far or do certain things. If you feel in control, accepting or strong about your current health situation, your mindset may take you further in life than the other side of the coin. So how would you describe how you feel about your current situation and how might your actions reflect this?

An example:-

Leah suffers with chronic fatigue syndrome and often posts about her struggles online for her friends and family to see. She uses social media as a way of coping and receives lots of sympathy from her peers. Yet, she does not feel better from doing this. In fact, often she feels worse and this can make her feel helpless, unworthy and at times bitter towards other people. Her brain is programmed to pick up on the bad things in life and very quickly forget the good things, no matter how big or small.

Have a go at identifying some key words which would describe your current mindset. Below are a few examples to get you thinking, although there are many more. You get the gist…

Motivated                          Lazy

Strong                                 Weak/Vulnerable

Optimistic                          Pessimistic

Grateful                              Envious

Growing                              Stuck

Connected                         Alone

Compassionate                 Critical

Open                                   Withdrawn

In control                           Coping

So now that you have connected a bit more to how your brain responds to ill health – try to pick out some behaviours that demonstrate the word or words on your list. If your mindset tends to lean towards the negative side, then it’s time to upgrade your passport – to hell with it! Apply for a brand new one.

How do you apply for a new mindset?

No need to answer this question – I will do it for you. There are a million ways to start adapting the mind, yet many psychologists (Simon Sinek is a good one) will always start with the most important factor.

PURPOSE!

Purpose is one of our most basic human needs. Yet when we are faced with either a mental or physical health condition/ illness, sometimes our sense of purpose loses its way. We can become so consumed with our symptoms that our mind does what it has to do, and shouts “ENGAGE PROTECTION MODE”. And that’s okay, because that is what it is supposed to do.

When it comes to health, one way it does this is by sending your mind straight into threat mode. “You can’t do that anymore Leah, you might as well go back to bed”. “Look at her, so full of energy all the time – why can’t I be like her?” “Why did this happen to me – I wish it would all just go away?”

So how can we change these types of thoughts?

FOCUS!

Sometimes, actually a lot of the time people might be referred to a psychologist (like me) or a therapist/counsellor to work on changing those pesky unhelpful thoughts.

However, this involves giving those types of thoughts lots of attention. Instead, try changing your personal focus by creating either a new life purpose or several smaller purposes. First of all, start with a composing a list of 10 words which encompass your life values. Now there are hundreds of different values that people may have, so a good place to start would be here.

Visit this link and choose your top 10 life values and write them down. This may take a while, but will be well worth the effort.

Now compile a separate list of things that you really enjoy doing, whether it is at work or at home. Again, try to thing of 10 things.

Once you have both lists, place them side by side and jot down some ideas on how the things that you enjoy may link up with your values.

Example:-

Values = Caring, Community

Activities = Knitting, Talking

These four concepts may be linked together to create a purpose. It might lead one to start up a knitting group for people with long term illnesses as a way of supporting each other. This is quite a big thing to take on though – so try thinking on a smaller scale at first.

Values = Caring, Family

Activities = Knitting, Talking

Knitting an item of clothing for a family members baby could be your purpose of the week. Next week, your purpose could be something completely different, or even smaller. It really doesn’t matter how big or small your life purposes are. You could set one up daily if you prefer. If you have had a bad day yesterday, your purpose today might be to make a cup of tea and get dressed. Just ensure that you claim this as a victory when you achieve it.

No matter how big or small your challenge is going to be, you should – I repeat SHOULD – join the You Own It Group on Facebook.

It will help you to take ownership over any health/wellbeing challenge you set yourself and will give you some extra moral support as and when you need it.

 

Things to remember

You are not your illness.

Small changes can make the biggest difference.

Celebrate the smallest victories.

 

(p.s. found out more about what Jennifer does by visiting her website and clicking here)

 

(p.p.s. are you a HCPC Registered Health Professional? Why don’t you follow by Jennifer’s example and empower your community? Click here to fill in your details