The Power of Resiliency in Chronic Illness

I was incredibly moved today by an artful, inspiring speaker who talks about about the power of resiliency after a shock, along with skills to help us make it through a traumatic event.  For us Crohnies, that may be the period when you're newly diagnosed, regardless of your age, and in shock at the many unknowns.  Life can seem threatening and overwhelming when you're diagnosed with a chronic disease, particularly one with no known cure and a continuum of severity.  Which diets to try, which medications to juggle? 

Becky Sansbury's fourteen years of being a hospice chaplain and her own life path help her share a powerful story of what to do when you're not quite sure how to take another step.  She offers the following tips, which touch on the emotional, mental, physical and spiritual aspects of healing:
  • Emotional:  Turn to friends and social outlets, such as support groups, to help you through this trying time.  Understand you may have a need to be alone, but don't let yourself become isolated.  It's important to stay connected to others.
  • Mental:  By engaging in deep, challenging or meaningful mental exercises, it allows our minds a break from the cycle of anxiety and "what if's".  Try sudoku, brain teasers, or a game of Candy Crush or solitaire to give yourself an opportunity to break from what's troubling you.  It's important to not choose something that will be frustrating; it should be fun and challenging.
  • Spiritual:  Through prayer and formal or informal connections to your religious or spiritual center, you can find the sense of peace that can be missing during a time of shock.  For some, that may be their relationship with God; for others it could be yoga and meditation or a walk in nature.
  • Physical:  By utilizing our body to be as active as we can be, it helps us break through the challenging time.  Sometimes just getting out of bed is difficult when you're ill.  Try doing stretches or other gentle movement, such as tai chi or qui / relaxation yoga.
The presentation reminded me of Daniel Goleman's books on resiliency and emotional intelligence.  A few years ago I read and enjoyed Primal Leadership:  Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence.



I highly recommend anyone reaching out to Becky to speak to a group, conference or do consulting for about any occasion. She moved an entire roomful of people today, and I am grateful for the experience.

Crohnies unite!

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