1) Music leads to relaxation and reduces stress:
I am learning to listen to my body. Stress is something all human beings and other animals experience, it turns out it is a physical response also known as the stress response or fight or flight. Basically, our bodies go into survival mode and that leads to a worsening of pain and even your emotional state. When I find I am stressed and restless I actually go turn on music I enjoy, close my eyes and get into bed to rest. After listening to music for a bit I find myself feeling more positive and often I fall asleep. Studies have shown that self-selected music (music you enjoy) and classical music fight the stress response. It really does work! So I am working on bringing music back into my life! There is something about listening to an old fashioned album or CD that I find relaxing versus the radio (no commercials). I am not into the new tech of digital or online music because I find I enjoy listening to an album the way the musician wrote – to each their own!
2) Positive thinking fights stress:
In light of successfully making it out of the hospital once again I told myself “good job Isaac”. In fact I do tend to review my experiences and try to find a meaning and growth point from going through suffering. Being that I am still recovering and unsure what the future holds with Crohn’s my best response is to keep my review to a minimum and to try to live mostly in the present moment. So instead of reviewing all the what scenarios (what happened and what will happen) here in my blog post I will discuss how I am currently managing my stress with positive thinking.
I have found that it is helpful to not allow myself to invest much energy into the pity party. “Oh, why me”, “I can’t handle this”, or “this isn’t fair”, or my favorite go to “I wish I never had Crohn’s Disease”. These thoughts are natural but not helpful.
Instead I tell myself “glad that is over”, “good job”, “I will be okay”, and “now that is another type of pain I can handle” – this builds confidence in my ability to handle my chronic illness. This change in thoughts to being more positive is well researched and call “cognitive reframing”. Essentially, I think of our thought process as an investment. Am I going to invest my limited resources in negativity, pain, and anger; or will I choose to invest in positive affirmation and giving myself credit for making it through another hospital stay. I have tried both investments of course and still do and I imagine you can guess which one actually helps! Try and be positive and be kind to yourself and say “good job”, that is what I strive to do 🙂 – Isaac Levinsky