We all have bad days. You know, those ones where you just want to stay inside with the doona pulled over your head? We bet that most people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) would list the day they were diagnosed as one of those low points in their life.
Unfortunately, the colon is partly controlled by the nervous system and we all know how the nervous system responds to stress and anxiety. This connection has even prompted researchers to dive into the link between IBD and mental illnesses.

It’s only natural, especially immediately after diagnosis, to get a little down in the dumps about your condition – but we’re here to tell you that life isn’t over! Sure, IBD will have a ripple effect in your life, but not to the degree that you won’t be able to have fun, feel good, be sexy and laugh off the embarrassing moments.
So to help you build up your armour against those ‘doona days’, we recommend these everyday strategies for fighting off the IBD blues

Journaling

Just because you feel miserable on Monday, doesn’t mean Tuesday’s going to be the same. Keeping a journal can really ram this point home. Anxiety and depression are like amusement park rides – full of ups and downs, peaks and plateaus. By chronicling your journey in a journal you’re essentially mapping out all the times you’ve recovered from feeling low or wound up. By regularly reflecting on these tough times, you’re reinforcing your belief that no matter how bad things are today, there’s always a better tomorrow on the horizon.

Journaling

Just because you feel miserable on Monday, doesn’t mean Tuesday’s going to be the same. Keeping a journal can really ram this point home. Anxiety and depression are like amusement park rides – full of ups and downs, peaks and plateaus. By chronicling your journey in a journal you’re essentially mapping out all the times you’ve recovered from feeling low or wound up. By regularly reflecting on these tough times, you’re reinforcing your belief that no matter how bad things are today, there’s always a better tomorrow on the horizon.

Practice gratitude

A shift in perspective can be a powerful thing. Even during those moments when you wish you could run away from it all, there are always things you can be grateful for; the people in your life, the generosity of others, or even just your favourite coffee made by your local barista. By taking a moment to be grateful for these things, you’re channeling pure positivity, and sometimes that can be enough to weather a stormy mood.

Don’t just look to others for positive affirmation. Allow yourself a self-esteem boost by reflecting on your own best qualities. Think about the achievements, skills and qualities you possess that fill you with pride

Practice patience

This one isn’t just about finding the positivity in life, but also about bettering yourself as a person. Developing and practicing patience as a skill will help you immensely through your

own IBD journey – patience to get through pain or discomfort, or to stew an apple instead of eating it raw.

When you find yourself becoming impatient or frustrated, take a breath, take a step back to view the problem objectively and decide for yourself whether or not it’s actually worth getting worked up about (we bet most of the time you’ll decide it’s not). Soon you may find yourself better equipped to tackle traffic jams, lunchtime queues or grating infomercials. Bit by bit, the act of focusing and practicing this virtue will help you deal with the craziness of everyday life – making those dark days a little brighter.

Staying positive throughout your IBD journey is the key to finding happiness, even in the most testing of times. Your diagnosis isn’t the end of the world; it’s actually just the beginning of a journey to wellness. Once you’re aware of your condition, you can take the necessary steps to stay in the best possible health. What at first may look like a total lose-lose scenario is actually your opportunity to live the healthiest life for your individual body and mind – so get out there and carpe that diem.

Date: 22/09/2014 IRIS number AU-REM0328

Aug Post 4 Positive Outlook