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Live in the NOW

"Live in the now" seems like a faraway notion once you've received a life-changing medical diagnosis. This is especially true when it is a condition that forces you to face your own mortality. Something of THAT magnitude tends to shatter your mental health.

Let's be honest

As many of us know, mental health affects everything. You become consumed with thoughts about managing your healthcare, how your diagnosis affects your loved ones, preparing for the worst-case scenarios, and just surviving. You may even have to make changes you did not see in the future like giving up your dream job. Let's be honest. Focusing on the positive things in life after being diagnosed with a chronic condition is HARD! It is so easy to get too consumed focusing on those things. As a result, we forget to "live in the now."

Have an attitude of gratitude

To "live in the now" can be pretty simple to accomplish. It involves making a conscious effort to enjoy every moment and is great for your mental health. The reality is YOU ARE STILL LIVING! Count your blessings one by one. Celebrate the small steps just as much as you do the major milestones. If you have gone from not being able to bathe yourself to take your first shower, CELEBRATE! Take an extra long shower or have other items in the bathroom that will make you cherish that moment like candles or your favorite music. If you were barely able to walk without struggling to breathe, but you are now able to walk a quarter of a mile, REJOICE! There is no obstacle so small that it shouldn’t be acknowledged and celebrated when you overcome it.

Treat every tomorrow like it’s your last

This may seem a little counterintuitive because the goal isn’t to focus on your circumstances. However, if you take the time to focus on including activities that you truly enjoy when planning your tomorrows, you help shift your mindset towards more positive thinking. This improves your mental health and your overall well-being.

Having a scheduled lunch (virtual or in-person) with friends gives you something to look forward to doing. If you are able to travel without assistance, go see something new. Spend time with your family because kids (and grandkids) grow up fast. While you’re at it, take pictures and consider starting a new hobby like scrapbooking. The idea is to not limit yourself by focusing on what you can’t do, but rather, focus on the things you CAN do.

Count it all JOY!

Tomorrow isn’t promised for anyone, whether you are the picture of perfect health or struggling with your health. But there is joy in knowing that every day that you wake up, you potentially have 24 hours to make the most of the time you’ve been given. This is not to say go crazy and do things that you shouldn’t. Rather, do things you can reflect on. Try your best to have no regrets knowing that you gave it your all. Life is still worth living – SO LIVE!

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