The Importance Of Maintaining A Positive Outlook With Declining Vision
Staying positive doesn’t mean you have to stay happy and giddy all the time. Just remember that even on your hardest days that there are better days to come. Really, isn’t it more fun to feel happy than crabby? By now, some of you are rolling your eyes and thinking, “Great! Another Pollyanna, just what I need!"
Maintaining a positive mindset
I do not make light of our low vision plight. My reason for broaching this topic is to remind myself to keep striving for a mindset that helps rather than hurts.
Some perks of a positive attitude.1>
- Lower rates of depression
- Longer life span
- Lower levels of distress
- Stronger immune system
- Better sense of psychological and physical well-being
- Improved cardiovascular health with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
- stronger coping skills during hardships and times of stress
This list could be huge if I allowed myself to prattle on. But modern science knows that through positive thinking, we can stop negative self-talk and reduce stress.
What has more power? Optimism or pessimism? That’s an easy one, isn’t it? Are you a pessimist or a cynic? Don’t despair-you can learn positive thinking skills. "How?" you ask.
Just try it sometime, make a list 2 or 3 times a week and see what happens. A gratitude list may seem innocuous and contrary to your current mindset, but it holds much power.
Remember that old axiom about computers? "Garbage in, garbage out" well it’s kind of true. Why not try to load more beneficial stuff into your head? You don’t have to make it complicated or laborious, let me do a fast one for you as an example:
I’m grateful for:
- A roof over my head
- Friends and family
- Food and water
- Internet access
- My health
- Nature and the outdoors
Starting out small
Start out easy. Just write down 5 things and try to do it 3 times a week. Get a journal or a pad of paper so you can keep all your lists together for later reference. Or just to reread when you’re feeling sad and blue.
There’s no wrong way to do this. Maybe just write down 3 tings if 5 seems too much.
Other things I'm grateful for:
- Lazy days
- long naps
- My family
So it’s ok to start small and build from there. When you get a journal and do this for a few weeks, go back and review it.
A journal, not a diary
Try to keep this one journal positive - we’re not talking about doing a diary here. Just positive stuff, you can even include inspirational quotes to your lists to boost your positivity.
Here are some positive quotes I'd like to share with all of you:
- “You do not find the happy life. You make it.”-Camilla Eyring Kimball
"You make a life out of what you have, not what you’re missing.”-Kate Morton, The Forgotten Garden
"You are the artist of your life. Don’t hand the paintbrush to anyone else.”-unknown
"The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”-Walt Disney
"I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”- Martin Luther King
I guess I’ll close out with why I’m trying to do this. I’ve caught myself looking back on my life and the choices I made along the way. This can be dangerous ground and contrary to becoming happy.
I’ve often wondered about the years I smoked, the food I ate, the alcohol I consumed. I’ve actually tried to blame myself for my current low vision problems. Then I snap out of it because what’s done is done!
It does me no good to assign blame to myself for having advanced AMD. Oddly enough, I now am at peace with myself. I can give myself a break and appreciate what I do have. I hope you can too.
Do you create gratitude lists?
Did you experience any challenges receiving an official MD diagnosis?