Lately, I’ve been on alert trying to avoid sticky points. These are what I call particular points in my day when I’m most vulnerable to distractions. Because if I give in to the distraction, I end up lost in negative thoughts and I weaken the positive mindset I’ve created to help me live with ALS. But by knowing when my sticky points are most likely to happen and having a plan in place, I can avoid them altogether.
What are my sticky points?
I have identified three. The first one happens when I wake up in the morning. I could give in to dreading the day ahead: Here’s to another day dragging around a rollator and drinking thickened coffee through a straw!
Instead, I mentally chant the positive affirmation: I am happy, I am healthy, I am fit, and I am successful. Affirmations are encouraging statements we tell ourselves to maintain a positive attitude and keep our worries in perspective. Studies show that optimism has benefits for mental well-being. When I hear these words first thing in the morning, I feel them!
I then do a few gentle stretches while thinking ahead to the day’s projects that await me.
My second sticky point happens in the afternoon when my energy drops and I slump deeper into my chair. It would be easy to stay seated, stare at the computer screen, and unproductively click through posts on Facebook.
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Instead, I set an alarm on my tablet to go off at 3 p.m. This reminds me to stop, get up, move, and have a fruit smoothie. It doesn’t matter whether we are doing the moving or someone helps us do it, our bodies benefit from frequent movement (or exercise) breaks.
My last sticky point waits for me at night, when I’m in bed and the lights are off. It would be easy to lie awake for hours, imagining all sorts of dire ALS-related scenarios.
Instead, I fall asleep remembering the day’s events and people with thoughts of gratitude and knowing my life has purpose. People with a strong sense of purpose in life have higher scores in mental health, well-being, and cognitive function. We even sleep better.
What are your sticky points?
We each have a different journey with ALS but share the potential to succumb to negative thinking. Take a moment to identify the triggers that can derail you and when they might pop up. Try my tips or have a few of your own in reserve.
I’ve found that following a strategy to avoid my sticky points helps to keep my energy up and my attitude positive. Because I believe we can live well while living with ALS.
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.