Living with a Chronic Disease? 5 Tools You Can Turn to On Your Toughest Days


Dealing with disease and all the physical and emotional aspects of illness is tiring. And stressful. And overwhelming. There’s so much to think about: your diet, supplements, lab work, and the list goes on. It’s hard trying to heal ourselves all the time. Sometimes, the emotional burden can take a toll on our lives. We can all use some tools and places to turn to as we try to find a manageable way to navigate our disease.

Here are five resources that I have relied on repeatedly in my struggles. I hope they can help you in your own personal journey toward wellness.


1. Broken Open by Elizabeth Lesser

This book talks about how positive change can come from difficult life events. You may find comfort and inspiration in reading about how people have survived and grown from dealing with difficult situations. It doesn’t really matter what the circumstances are, you will find that this funny and touching book can help you find courage and meaning in your life.


2. When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron

My most read book. Written by a female Buddhist monk, this book provides a lot of wisdom and insight on how to deal with pain and suffering. When I am having a bad day, I open this up to a random page and read a paragraph or two. It has helped me through some of my darkest moments.


3. Meditation

I have been meditating for almost 10 years. Meditation stimulates brain waves that promote less inflammation in the body. It helps to light up the part of the brain that can experience joy. I rely on my daily practice to keep me balanced and centered in this constantly changing world. There are a lot of different types of practices: I use inner chanting, while others practice transcendental meditation, which is silent and still. You can find many sources online to help you get started, but I like the Oprah and Deepak Chopra Meditation page. It’s a perfect place for beginners who want to start meditating, but don’t know exactly how to start. Step-by-step instructions, easy downloadable meditations, and videos. Try doing it daily for a few weeks. Meditation takes practice, but it can help you become more calm and centered as you deal with life’s struggles.


4. Community

It helps to know that you aren’t the only one struggling. Find others who are dealing with the same illness or issues as you. There are so many communities and support groups out there that can provide sympathy, comfort and compassion. You can do it all from the comfort of your own home, or go to support group meetings and even retreats. Here are a few sources:


The Chopra Center: Lots of information on wellness, meditation, and yoga; specifically aimed at people dealing with physical or emotional pain


The Omega Institute: Offers workshops and retreats on topics relating to health, healing, the body, mind and spirit


Spirit Rock Meditation Center: Retreats and classes in silent meditation


Hay House Radio: Inspirational radio and podcasts


5. Journaling

Writing your thoughts, fears or wishes down can be therapeutic. I like Day One Journal App.  Rated one of the best apps by Apple in 2012, it provides an excellent way to record your thoughts in a private journal anytime, anywhere.

I hope these resources will help you as you navigate your illness and your life. Dealing with disease can be a difficult burden, and it helps to have a place to turn to for guidance and support. Know that many, many people have been through similar struggles, and it’s OK to reach out for help and support. Most of all, just be kind and patient with yourself.


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Note: PLEASE consult with  your doctor before making any changes to your diet or medications. The material on this site is provided for educational purposes only, and is not to be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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