If you live with hypothyroidism or Hashimoto's thyroiditis, you know the path to emotional and personal well-being can be painful, long, and often frustrating. It seems like, after every setback, there's another. Your health seems to take and take and take.
How can you stay positive?
Maybe it's unrealistic to be positive all the time when you're dealing with this condition that disrupts so many of your body's processes. To falsely feel happy and positive can even have negative consequences, both psychological and physical.
Maybe the better question is: how can you embrace your negative emotions?
How to stay positive with hypothyroidism
Feel your feelings
Author Richard Bach says, "The worst lies are the lies we tell ourselves. We live in denial of what we do, even what we think. We do this because we are afraid."
Negative emotions, which we think are wrong, are usually information or feedback that tell us what we want or need. This feedback can be useful! Get comfortable and curious here. Ask yourself questions. What is this telling me? What do I want? How can I take responsibility to get what I need?
By allowing the full spectrum of your human experience, you deepen and grow. Acting positive is different than being positive—that is, to embody positivity. Acting positive is shallow and cracks easily. Instead, go deeper into self-reflection. When you embrace your feelings (even those negative ones), you allow yourself to see and be seen fully.
How to start:
Try journaling. Pull out a pen and paper (or Notes on your phone, if that's your jam), set a timer for 5 minutes, and prompt yourself, "How do I feel, and what is that telling me?"
Commit to community
Hands up if your biggest pet peeve is the phrase, "But you don't look sick!" 🙋
Belonging to a community of people who get it is essential and therapeutic. You aren't meant to be on this journey alone, and no one knows this fight for wellness better than someone who shares the experience.
Take a look at who's who in your circle right now—consider your partner, your kids, your friends, your colleagues, your congregation, et cetera. How do these groups or people support your progress toward health and wholeness? Are there any boundaries you need to set? Remember, you can love someone deeply and keep them at a healthy distance.
Commit yourself to a safe community of people where you can find answers and support on both your positive and negative days. This no-matter-what support system is here to affirm you when you're overwhelmed and fed-up.
How to start:
Like attracts like
What we think, say, and listen for can shape our reality because our brains love patterns. The frequency illusion (or the Baader Meinhof effect) essentially says that our brains tend to weigh recent thoughts more heavily. So, if you're thinking about something, it's top of mind. Then, other things related to that thought stand out more vividly and come more easily. If you're thinking about red cars, you start to notice more red cars. This is the Law of Attraction, the belief that positive or negative thoughts bring positive or negative experiences. "Like attracts like," they say.
If you're positive about one thing, you start to notice more positive things.
How to start:
Take a look at this emotional guidance scale:
Identify where you are on the scale, then ask yourself, "What is the next emotion that I have access to?" Find a feeling or thought-pattern that feels just a little bit better. No need to jump from the bottom to the top. Can you move yourself up one or two notches?
Like attracts like. The more you practice, the easier it becomes to access the next emotion.
Progress is progress
There is always one action that is accessible to you.
How to start:
Each day, commit to accomplishing ONE thing that will make you feel good about yourself.
Don't get stuck in all the lack or the long to-do list. Maybe it's getting out of bed with your alarm, doing a few minutes of yoga, calling your mom, or doing a load of laundry. When you finish, you have our full permission to sit back down on the couch and feel proud of yourself for doing that one thing that made you feel good.
We aren't trivializing the energy it takes with hypothyroidism to do anything—or sometimes, everything—and if you break things down, there is at least one action accessible to you.
And, who knows, maybe you'll feel compelled to do one more thing after that! Either way, we clink our green juice to you.