After the heartbreak of 2017’s disasters, we all need a mental health break. What will you do in 2018 to increase your happiness?
“Reaching Out to Others”
Next year, I definitely need more joy in my life! In 2017, I went on disability, moved across the country, lost both my parents and was hospitalized for depression. I know, right?! But even with several chronic health conditions, I am grateful for the friends and family who helped me through it all.
I create more joy by sticking to my treatment plans, staying busy as a patient advocate and cooking for my family and friends. The best part about advocacy is the perspective you get in helping others. When I want to complain, I remember that others may be having a worse day. Reaching out to them and doing what I can really helps keep those endorphins high.
“Shine the Light on What I Can Do”
I’m a firm believer that there’s more good in the world than bad. At times, our minds trick us into dwelling on the bad and it creates an unhealthy cycle, but I believe there is always something to be grateful for.
I aim to increase my happiness by continuing to work on my books and my health, by staying dedicated to volunteer work and by enjoying my hobbies – birdwatching, reading and astronomy.
Because of my rheumatoid arthritis (RA), I have to work hard to refocus from what I can’t do or what the illness has taken from me and instead to shine light on what I still DO have and what I still CAN do. I do this through self-care, mindfulness and living life to the fullest through my writing, enjoying my pets, advocacy and serving others. Bad things in life won’t define me. I will continue to try to live with fortitude and grace in 2018!
“Make Each Day Better”
To start 2018 – and each day – on a positive note, I plan to really focus on my mantra: “I am getting stronger every day.” It doesn’t mean that I’m lifting weights all the time – it means that I aim to make each day better than my last. Maybe today I’m emotionally stronger – my inner thoughts are at peace. And maybe tomorrow I’ll feel physically stronger because I went for a walk. Arthritis can make a persistent effort at taking over your life, but don’t let it. Jot down what makes you happy, what words make you feel empowered, and use them to create your own daily mantra.
- Voices: Are You Grateful for Your Arthritis?
- Voices: What Have You Learned About Asking for Help?
- Voices: Are You a Self-Care Slacker?
- Arthritis Foundation Helpline
- Arthritis Foundation Tools & Resources