Overcoming Chronic Illness, Six Tips to Get You Started

by Laurie Erdman on February 10, 2011

Chronic illness is on the rise. Obesity is now the #1 killer in the United States. Chronic illness costs the U.S. economy billions each year.  While there are policy changes that can help us reverse this problem, today I want to share with you how YOU can reverse many of the effects of chronic illness for yourself.

1.  Asks Questions. Studies show that those patients, who become interested in their disease and take action, live longer. Passivity will not help you live with dignity or get you playing with your grandchildren or taking that trip to China you have always dreamed of. Take charge of your condition.  Own it’s course, don’t let it own you.

2.     Get real. This is a two-parter. First, this is the time to get honest with yourself.  Do you want to feel better or not?  It won’t be easy. It will take work.  But I trust that you can do it. If a life long needle-phob like myself can take a daily injection to manage multiple sclerosis, so can you.

This is also the time to reintroduce REAL FOOD to your diet. Yes, if you have made the decision to get better, than the first step is building a solid foundation of healing foods.  Yes, this means no more Kripsy Kreme. But before you think your life is over, there are tons of great tasting foods that will give your body what it needs to heal. In turn, your body will give you the gift of life and joy.

3.     Get moving. You knew this one was coming.  Yes, movement is essential for many reasons.  It gets your body fluids moving. It helps your body produce serotonin – the stuff that makes you feel good. It builds strength and endurance even when done in small amounts. Do as much as you can. If your condition has you suffering from fatigue, be reasonable, i.e., don’t go for a 10-mile run, but maybe so some leg lifts and bicep curls.

4.     Baby steps. Did the first three steps overwhelm you?  Stop and take a deep breath.  Life is a journey.  When you have a chronic illness it becomes a healing journey.  Lifestyle changes are critical to your health.

5.    Breath. Stress is a major contributor to inflammation which is the foundation for almost all chronic illness.

6.     Assemble a team of professionals you trust. While there are a lot self-help techniques you can employ to overcome chronic illness, you don’t have to take the healing journey alone.  In fact, you will have a greater chance of success if you assemble a team of professionals.  Your team might include a general practice (I recommend an integrative or functional medicine doctor), a specialist such as a neurologist, cardiologist, endocrinologist, etc.; a naturopath; a body worker to help your body release stress; a health coach.  These professionals should be comfortable working together. If one of them is not comfortable with the fact that you have a team, I highly recommend finding someone who is. This is your life and you should have the best support possible and not have to worry about bickering amongst your team.


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Laurie Erdman, JD, MS, CHHC is a speaker, Get More Energy Strategist and the CEO of The Ignite Well Being Institute LLC where she helps companies sustain fast growth by energizing their people. To download her FREE book: Burnout. Identify It. Extinguish It. Ignite Your Life visit www.TheIgniteWellBeingInstitute.com.

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