Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, living with chronic illness, Living with Illness

Breaking Mental Habits for Health and Healing

We all do it.  We get into a groove and we continue down the same path over and over because we know it and it feels comfortable.  What’s the it?  The it is everything and anything we think, feel, and do in our lives.  We learn how to do something and it becomes a habit.  Our responses to events and experiences become a habit.  How we resolve challenges becomes a habit.  All these habits keep you in an insulated zone that explodes following the diagnosis of a chronic or life-altering illness.

The trouble is that once the doctor delivers the diagnosis how long do you have to reconvene your inner committee to begin changing your old habits?  The funny thing about habits is that the experts say it takes thirty days to develop a new habit; that’s the good news.  The bad news is that for many of you it takes this devastating news to initiate the thirty-day new habit regimen.

Why do you need new habits? The biggest challenge many who are confronted with a health challenge face is their own thought patterns.  We’ve been conditioned, in our industrialized western culture, to believe we are entitled to good health and long life.  Did you know that at the turn of the twentieth century the life expectancy was 47 years of age?  We’ve come a long way baby, but not in our thinking, simply our technology and scientific advances.

We’ve begun to see a thought revolution evidenced by the number of people who have turned to exercise or spiritual practice, but the negative thought patterns are difficult to combat given the economic crisis, the housing crisis, the healthcare crisis, etc… you get the picture.  That’s why it’s so important for you to begin your new mental habit today because a change in your mental habits will result in a change in your body’s ability to fight disease.

It has been proven time and time again that the mind-body connection is powerful.  Developing mental habits of gratitude helps instill a sense of hope that tomorrow can or will be better.  Developing a sense of presence negates what might happen tomorrow or what happened yesterday because now is all that matters.  These habits aren’t easy and often they require someone who can serve as a guide along the way.

Over the past twenty years I’ve been privileged to serve as a Sherpa for those facing a chronic or life-altering illness.  I evolved into this role because those who came before shouldered the burden while I gathered new strength, developed new coping mechanisms allowing me the time I needed to breathe and adjust to the “new normal” of my life.  Having someone who will carry the burden on the emotional and spiritual level affords you the opportunity to expand your personal potential.  It will give you the freedom to explore what works for you to change your mental habits and revitalize the vision of you life.

You owe it to yourself to develop these new mental habits following your diagnosis.  Finding ways to expand your world of possibility will ignite your immune system because it too needs to experience hope.


I've lived my life in service to others. I'm focused on mental health and how it impacts our relationships, culture, and society. Through creative expression and narrative I believe we can impact change.

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