How to Create an Efficient ALS Mindset

Dagmar Munn avatar

by Dagmar Munn |

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ALS and efficient are two words not often used in the same sentence. But to me, they are a perfect pairing. Mention “ALS” and it’s easy to think slow, clumsy, and low energy, while “efficient” can describe quick, streamlined, and well-organized. I’ve combined the two into what I call having an efficient ALS mindset.

Although my life was always filled with priorities, I now recognize that they were muddled with things I thought I should be doing but only led to overcommitment and increased struggle in life. That mindset was manageable for many years, but not once I was diagnosed with ALS.

Suddenly, I had too much to do and too little time. My energy didn’t match what I thought had to be done, and I’d find myself wondering, why am I doing this anyway?

I had to prune my old priorities and revamp my mindset. Here’s how I did it:

My self-worth is not defined by my health

Health and fitness maintenance was always a high priority for me, but after my diagnosis, I fell into thinking I’d failed at it. Only after researching ALS and learning that even the medical experts haven’t yet found a cause was I finally able to let myself off the hook.

No matter what my health is, I know I can still have a purpose. I can make a difference and live a happy, fulfilled life.

Accept my new normal

Instead of fighting the reality that I had ALS, I decided to give in and accept it. To just be. To go with the flow.

With this new attitude, many of the things I used to do simply didn’t make sense anymore. I let go of self-imposed rules, expectations, and needs, and the world didn’t come to an end! In fact, I felt relief.

Mental and physical health maintenance remains at the top of my priorities list. My new goal is to be a healthy ALS patient.

Research points to the many ways that having a sense of purpose can benefit physical health. I used to teach fitness classes and lecture on wellness. My new purpose is to share my knowledge and skills through writing.

A few simple rules

I’ve set these rules for myself:

  • Follow a set routine of daily habits that accommodate my body’s ebb and flow of energy.
  • Say “no” more often and without feeling guilty.
  • Build joy into each day.

Having an ALS efficient mindset is one more way we can learn to 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.


fran lancaster avatar

fran lancaster

Great article!

Andrea Chapman Fay avatar

Andrea Chapman Fay

Greetings Daggie.... ‘As always an informative, enlightening & educational article! As always your words are helpful to people both living with ALS & those without. As always, ‘Thank You’ for your words of wisdom! My Best.... Andi

Dagmar Munn avatar

Dagmar Munn

Andi - - Thank you so much!

David Saunders avatar

David Saunders

Well said! In different words, I embrace your approach.

Mike avatar


Thank you for sharing. Will use some of your advice myself.

Lisa Cross Bonahoom avatar

Lisa Cross Bonahoom

Dagmar, as usual, you are spot on. It’s crazy, get outta my head! No, seriously, I love your voice. My ALS is genetic, and it is affecting 3 out of 7 siblings so far. I recommended reading everything they could find that you have written. Education is so important, but attitude trumps it. Rock on!

Dagmar Munn avatar

Dagmar Munn

Thank you for your kind words Lisa! Sending you and your family health and resilience!

Carolyn Wilhite avatar

Carolyn Wilhite

My husband has Bulbar ALS, with speaking/breathing/swallowing decline. He is a pastor and continues to speak in his pulpit. He found ways with his speech therapist to amplify his voice and reserve his strength before speaking. He spoke on radio and tv last week, and he has become an inspiration to many to never give up. Keep doing whatever you can as long as you can.

Lane Brooks avatar

Lane Brooks

Your article really resonates. I was just officially diagnosed with ALS this week. My symptoms are now relatively slight and my goal is to keep them that way for as long as possible. This week I told my colleagues about my ALS and rolled out a plan for my reduced work involvement. Sacrificing my work for my health would seem to be no brainer but it's emotionally difficult for me. Your words really reinforce my decision and give me some new ideas - especially when I look at some of your other pieces. Thank you so much! May you continue to manage your health well for a long time and continue to share your wisdom.

Dagmar Munn avatar

Dagmar Munn

Thank you for your kind words Lane! You are not alone in experiencing the ups, downs and frustrating feelings when learning to live with ALS and sharing with others. There are many good resources now (and more every year!) to help us pALS. Do use our ALS News Today patient columns as a resource, and, do check out the ALS News Today Forums - - where we discuss issues, share tips and support each other. Keep the positive spirit and attitude!

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