You think I'm joking right? "Find happiness after diagnosis." "I've just been told I'll be shooting myself up every day." "I've been told this is not curable." "There is no happiness in that, so stop pulling my leg." "How is happiness even possible?"
Let me start with the fact that happiness is absolutely essential to LIVING with any condition. Happiness is what puts a smile on our face. Happiness is what propels you to take action to take care of yourself. It leaves you open to giving and receiving love (Speaking of which, what are you doing for your loved one tomorrow?) Happiness is about maximizing your quality of life.
Without happiness, life loses its purpose. Seriously, why get up in the morning if we can not be happy? (Of course this also applies to those walking dead who do not even have the excuse of a diagnosis to bring them down). Without happiness you risk depression and negative thoughts. Those negative thoughts send your cells the message to give up.
Do not give up.
It's understandable that when you get the news of cancer, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, or the myriad of conditions doctors will tell you you are manageable but not curable, you want to give up on happiness. But happiness is essential to not letting the diagnosis rule your life. But how do you find happiness after diagnosis?
Here are 5 quick tips I learned on my journey and help my clients cultivate happiness.
Laugh. Laughter really is the best medicine. If life is not feeling so funny, then check out a funny movie. Go to a comedy show. Call up your funniest, goofiest friend. Just laugh. Life without laughter is like a movie without a soundtrack.
Reach out. Let others help you. Ask for help. I know this is tough. But life is hard enough without help. Reach out to others for help, even if it's just a shoulder to cry on. People want to help. Just be sure to be specific with your instructions.
Occasional and intentional indulgence. I still encourage you to eat uber, anti-inflammatory, alkaline healthy. As for the indulgence part, create boundaries. For instance, I no longer drink red wine (a shock to many of my San Francisco friends). However, I will have a glass if it's a special occasion like a birthday or getting my book published, and the wine is really good (Opus One anyone?).
Love. This is really what it is all about. Whatever a spouse, a friend, a dog, a child, giving and receiving love is what life is all about, even for the healthiest. Do not let this key passage pass you by. Love transcends all.
Give back. When the big, scary diagnosis comes in, it is easy to say "woe is me." But there are so many people worse off than you. So instead of sitting on the sofa crying, why not get up and help them. The simple act of giving of yourself will lift your spirits and remind you of why you are here. We are all here to serve.
So now it's your turn, what can you do to find happiness, despite a blow to your health?