“It is not primarily our physical selves that limit us,
but rather our mindset about our physical limits.”
My life prior to ALS was filled with moving. I grew up doing gymnastics and enjoyed a happy livelihood teaching classes in wellness, fitness and dance. Being comfortable and confident speaking in front of others seemed to be the way my life would be always.
Having ALS dashed those assumptions
Following my diagnosis, my mindset was unless I could move well and speak well, teaching was out of the question. Certainly, the concept of teaching through writing and connecting with others via the internet never crossed my mind.
But here I am, with a whole new mindset – and I’m enjoying the challenge!
How did I change my mindset? I became my own student and followed what I once taught others in my wellness classes. The process involves three steps: Assess, accept and re-frame.
Let me show you how it works
First, assess the situation by asking yourself, “What changed or what has been lost?” Be specific. In my case, even though I wanted to say, “I lost my life as I knew it,” in reality, it was a loss of mobility and the ability to speak clearly.
This is followed by the second step of asking yourself how you feel about the loss. I sat and processed through my emotions of anger, sadness and disappointment. The goal is to reach a level of acceptance of your loss. Often a good friend or family member can help with this step.
The final step is re-framing the change or loss into a challenge. This means looking at the problem from a different perspective; brainstorming and thinking outside the box. In my case, I realized that I could still connect with others and share my wellness expertise through writing. I started a blog, wrote an e-book and that led to even more opportunities — like writing for ALS News Today!
Assess, Accept, Re-frame
ALS brings so many ongoing physical changes that we’re often unaware of how stuck we’ve become in old mindsets. These old mindsets can hold us back from continuing to share our talents and skills, from feeling valued as a person and from enjoying a quality life.
Give my three-step process a try and change your mindset. You just might transform your physical limitations into opportunities!
Note: ALS News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of ALS News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to ALS.