About a month ago I was in the waiting room of my rehab clinic, just watching and listening to the other patients as I waited for my physiotherapy appointment. There was an older gentleman there (okay, maybe not that old but probably in his 50s) waiting for his appointment at the pain clinic. He was friendly and chatting with the receptionists. One of them asked him how he was doing today. “I’m feeling great! Well, my body isn’t but I am,” was his response. It made me smile. The ability to separate physical from mental, because so often those of us with chronic pain and chronic illnesses can’t do so. Pain affects our mood, mood affects our pain. Does it have to? Does it always?
Image from: https://iskconnews.org/who-knows-the-way-to-happiness-positive-psychology-or-bhakti-yoga,5051/
There are times where no matter how positive and optimistic you are, what you are going through is going to affect how you feel emotionally. And there are times when you can separate the two, just as this gentleman did. Now, for all I know this was a good day from a period of days where he hates the world. That’s not the impression I got though. I felt an overall positive energy comes from him that seemed genuine and enduring. Again, he probably has some good days and some not so good, but positivity in the face of it all is great to see.
How can we help ourselves feel great while not feeling great? That’s a big question with more than one not so small answer. Self-care, in any form, I think is very beneficial. I feel better when I take a bath or get a massage or go to the gym or take a few minutes to read a chapter from a book. Whatever I have to do to calm my mind or take it off the other predicaments of life, such as health. Meditation I have found to also be helpful. And talking. Therapy, or with friends and family, can do wonders for your mental health (or even just sharing on a site like this). Just know, that like that guy, we are capable of feeling great, while not feeling great.