Step 3: Mental Health
If your grieving and physical health activities have been beneficial, you are now ready to move to the mental health step. Luckily, you can make huge amounts of movement towards building or maintaining optimism with mental health activities alone. Here’s how:
- Find positive people. Being around people that are overly negative, depressed or angry can stifle your change towards optimism. The same is true when you spend too much time alone. The goal should be finding and surrounding yourself with people that share the same lust for optimism that you aspire to have. Making connections online is a fine starting place, but the ultimate desire must be supports in your community. This way you can get a better understanding of what makes them the optimists they are.
- Set goals. Goals are wonderful tools because they provide direction and guidance. Having a better understanding of your limitations and abilities will aid in the goal setting process. What do you want to go? What do you want to do? How do you want to think and feel? As long as your goals are specific, attainable, measureable and realistic, any goal can be a good goal. Consult others to see if your goals are worthwhile and practical.
- Accomplish goals. Setting goals begins to foster a feeling of purpose and motivation. To continue the benefit, you must accomplish the goals you set. Completing goals gives you a sense of control and power over the world around you. The RA diagnosis might have you feeling hopeless, hapless and helpless, but achieving even small goals will defeat these negative views. Speaking of small goals, the goals that you choose initially should be especially simple and easy to accomplish. The inertia established will carry you towards completing bigger and more difficult goals. Small goals are the crawling before the walking.
- Seek gratitude. Gratitude is a sense of thankfulness and appreciation of others, the world and yourself. It is easy to see how gratitude and optimism are related. To add new levels of gratitude to your life, you must actively seek it out. Make it a point to find five things that you are thankful for or that you appreciate each day. Write them down or document them other ways so that you can recall them later. This emphasizes the positives.
- Avoid negatives. Negative people, places and things are sure-fire optimism breakers. Assert your power and self-worth by acknowledging that you are too good to be around people that bring you down. Recognize that you deserve more than these people can offer. This process also boosts your self-esteem. Self-esteem, like gratitude, is intimately linked to optimism.
Being faced with a chronic medical condition is not an easy issue to face. Because of the challenge, you need to be well armed with optimism. Optimism changes your perspectives and modifies the way you see life.
The right amount of optimism makes even the worst days with RA more manageable.