This morning on the train to work, I cracked open a different book to usual. I’m currently reading Sarah Ballantyne’s The Paleo Approach, which is excellent, but very heavy. Sometimes I like to start my day with something a bit more light-hearted and positive, so today I opened up Mindful Living: Mindfulness, The Chance to Choose. This is why having a Kindle is great. So much choice at your fingertips constantly.
Mindfulness is all about changing the way you think about things to reduce stress and anxiety. It is also about living in the present and not always looking forward to what’s coming up next and letting our lives pass us by on autopilot. And since a big part of The Paleo Approach is about managing stress and anxiety alongside nutrition and exercise, it seems a pretty good fit.
Today’s chapter suggested that we tend to give more energy to our negative thoughts than our positive ones. We can get 10 compliments in a day and one criticism, but it tends to be the criticism that sticks in our mind. The book encourages you to let go of negative thoughts and not give energy to them by dwelling on them. Instead, make a conscious decision to think about the positive things, try and see the positives in everything, and be more positive towards other people.
No, I know what you’re thinking – this all sounds a lot like some far-out, hippy bullshit. But I do find that when I start my day with this book and am conscious of being mindful, I tend to have a more positive day. Mind over matter, I guess. And, what’s more, my pain levels have been lower today. So, maybe I have brought my cortisol levels down a little bit (not that I think I’m a particularly stressy person anyway) and stemmed some of the pesky inflammation that comes along with cortisol spikes.
Making the decision to be positive today also got me thinking about yesterday’s post on conflicting information and conflicting elimination diets. I felt when I had finished writing it as though my conclusion of that post was fairly positive. But when I look back, I still had listed all of the further things that I should consider eliminating from my diet because they appeared on the Interstitial Cystitis problem foods list. What I didn’t consider is what kinds of foods I should be eating more of because they appear on both of the ‘friendly food’ lists. In fact, the IC diet list goes a step further and puts a + next to all the foods that could be particularly soothing to the bladder. I wonder which of those foods appear on the AIP friendly food list as well.
Here we go…
- Chamomile tea
- Peppermint tea
- Squash – summer, winter, zucchini (aka courgette if you’re in the UK)
So, that’s actually quite a lot of really tasty stuff that I could be including more of to soothe my bladder even more. I was surprised to see chicken and beef on the list and very pleasantly surprised to see certain herbs being featured.
This, my friends, is the power of taking a positive perspective on things. Just making the decision to be positive today made me think about my conflicts and dilemmas in a completely different way. Instead of focusing on the growing list of things I shouldn’t eat, it allowed me to focus on the things I can and should eat. And some of these things are pretty tasty.
Not only that, but being mindful and positive today helped me deal with things better and just take things for what they were. I don’t consider myself to be a person who gets stressed easily, but on the train back from work this evening, we had to stop because of an accident on a bridge up ahead. We were stopped for over an hour. People were complaining, but I just saw it as an opportunity to read a little bit more of my book and take some time for myself. It put a dent in my plans for the evening, but it wasn’t anything major. And coping is a great feeling.
This blog post is short and sweet this evening – to make up for the thesis I wrote last night. How do you stay positive about your autoimmune disease? Do you have any tips to share?
Breakfast: 1 slice of bacon, 1 Big-O-Bacon burger, 1 mini lamb burger, with salad
Lunch: Ham salad
Dinner: Sweet potato, apple, and pancetta hash
Snacks: 3 servings of dates. 1 blackcurrant fruit leather yoyo (natural)
Pain level (out of 10)
Started off pretty high at 3 or 4 and calmed down towards lunch time. Very small twinges at times at around 1, but nothing serious. It hasn’t seemed to get worse into the evening yet and it’s 10pm here. So, feeling positive yet again today.