The stroke recovery process is long and arduous and while depression and sadness are appropriate emotions to feel post stroke, they do not help motivate and energize us for the marathon type of endurance required to get through the rehab process. From my experience and from talking with other stroke survivors -- Staying upbeat and seeing the positive aspects of recovery is a much better approach and one that will help you to keep working when your mind body and spirit are tired and ready to quit
I was recently reading Oliver sacks’ book “GRATITUDE,” AndI I realized that I was ignoring the positive things in my life and dwelling on the negative.
So I have begun keeping a daily list of things I am grateful for.
(to get myself to notice the positive everyday things that I usually overlook)
the items on my list can be as simple as nice weather -- or a sentence I have written that captures my thought.
Basic things that when added together,
help me to see the light, and give me the strength to carry on.
The other thing I am doing to keep my spirits up is trying to be much more self -forgiving.
If I can’t do an exercise
or if I feel bad
I tend to be hard on myself and demand more, but now I am trying to cut myself some slack and acknowledge how I feel and see what I have actually accomplished.
So if I can recommend any techniques for staying upbeat.
I would suggest that you
keep a daily list of things you are grateful for and that you develop some self compassion--
treat yourself the way you would treat a friend. Forgive yourself for setbacks and slow improvement. Don’t beat yourself up because things aren’t working the way you want them to.
If you find your strength and support in god, then connect to your god -- there is great power in belief and prayer- and while I was not raised in that tradition and do not have a connection to a divine being -- I encourage you to use whatever works for you to stay positive about where you are in your life and recovery.
In an essay written just weeks before his death when he was quite ill, neurologist Oliver Sacks,Wrote
“ I cannot pretend I am without fear.
But my predominant feeling is one of gratitude.
I have loved and been loved I've been given much and I've given something in return ;I have read and traveled and thought and written. I have had an intercourse with the world and the special intercourse of writers and readers.
Above all I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal on this beautiful planet and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure.”
Why does it take us so long to be grateful for what we have --
especially if it is not what we used to have?
Heed Dr. Saks’ words. Despite our challenges, we are all sentient thinking animals on this beautiful planet. And that is reason enough to keep on going.