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...Blog about it! (Or do something else equally productive.)
It's easy to focus on the negative when you live with a chronic illness, but it takes intentional practice to turn your focus to something positive. No matter what your personal "lemons" consist of - fatigue, chronic pain, mental illness, mobility issues - you are the only one with the power to make something out of them.
There are two kinds of people in the world. (There are actually millions, but we're going to focus on two here.) Some people whine and complain about their rotten lemons. Others find creative ways to transform those lemons into something more meaningful. I'm not suggesting that a positive attitude is a magical cure-all, but it's not going to make things any worse, so why not give it a try?
Here are three steps to becoming the second kind of person and repurposing your lemons:
1. Don't try to make root beer.
Focus on what you can do, not on what you can't do. If you spend all your time and energy trying to juice those lemons into a frothy mug of root beer, you're going to be disappointed. But if you apply that energy to making lemonade, you'll end up with something quite pleasant.
Lately I've been struggling with the reality that I may never finish a half marathon - although I haven't completely given up hope! Because running has been such a big part of my life and my career for the last ten years, it's natural to set my sights on longer distances. But I also realize that a half marathon may not be a realistic goal for me. In the meantime, I'm focusing on shorter distances - 5Ks and 10Ks - and reminding myself to take pride in these smaller, but no less important, accomplishments along the way.
Gratitude is the sugar in the lemonade of life. If gratitude is something you struggle with, start by keeping a daily journal. Even if you only write down one thing each day that you're grateful for, you'll be amazed by the difference this simple habit makes. Forming a daily habit of practicing gratitude can bring your attention to things you might not ordinarily appreciate.