To live your life to the fullest, you should always look for ways to stay positive despite all of life’s crazy surprises. Positivity is a fantastic drug.

Research shows that happy thoughts can make you more resilient to sickness and other adverse life events. But it can be tough to stay positive when you’re not feeling well, and even more so when being unwell has completely upended your life.

Sadly, many people experience sadness, anxiety, depression, stress, and other negative emotions when sick. This can make recovering even more difficult. Read on if you need a pick-me-up to help navigate a tricky health crisis. Here are four ways to stay positive, even through an illness.

1.    Stay Positive by Letting Yourself Experience Emotions

It’s a common misconception that those who stay positive never let themselves feel bad. For genuine positivity to take root, you must first process your emotions. It sounds counter-productive, but it’s how it works. When you don’t acknowledge your emotions, you repress them, exacerbating them. Studies show that it strengthens them as they influence you in subconscious ways. It’s like being weighed down by negativity!

That’s why the best way to stay positive through an illness is to permit yourself to feel the natural and valid emotions of being sick. To do this, you can:

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·         Name Your Emotions

The emotions you feel when you’re sick are bound to be complex. Try to name them out loud or describe them. This can help your brain process these feelings and help you understand how these emotions impact you.

·         Have a Good Cry

There’s no shame in having a good cry when you need it. Being sick can be overwhelming, especially when the future feels uncertain. Studies have shown that crying can sometimes help relieve negative emotions and uplift mood. More importantly, it’s a release of your feelings that comes from allowing yourself to express your negative emotions.

·         Let Yourself Be Sick of Being Sick

It’s normal to get sick of being sick, especially if your illness requires a lot of treatment or a prolonged recovery period. You might feel guilty for tired of feeling this way, but don’t be ashamed! Your body is not working as it should, and it’s expected to tire of dealing with that. This is a normal, healthy emotion to feel and shouldn’t be excluded so that you can stay positive. Toxic, unrealistic positivity is not genuine positivity at all!

·         Stay Positive by Writing in a Journal

If you have trouble letting yourself feel your emotions, it can help to write them down. Use a journal, Word document notes application or anything else to express all your thoughts. Do not, at any point, pause to judge yourself for what you feel. Write whatever pops into your head and allow yourself to release your emotions through the medium of the written word.

2.    Stay Positive by Accepting the Help You Need

When you’re sick, do you try to do everything yourself? Do you tell people not to help you and tend to push yourself to perform daily tasks that leave you exhausted and even sicker? This is a common situation for people who are ill, and it may happen because:

  • You worry about being a burden to the people around you, so you reject their help
  • You feel like everything is spinning out of control, so you attempt to take control of your daily life
  • You hate being dependent on others and force yourself to behave independently to avoid that situation
  • You feel ashamed or insecure about how you act and appear when sick, so you keep others out as much as possible

While these are all reasons worthy of empathy and understanding, they will also render you unable to stay positive. The fact is that when you’re sick, you deserve help and care, and it’s crucial to your healing that you accept assistance from those who care about you. If you reject all help, you’ll be exhausted and unable to recover, and you won’t have any energy left for positivity.

If you want to embrace positivity, you should accept help in the following ways:

·         Ask for a Listening Ear

As you already know, being ill can be emotionally taxing, and sometimes, what you need is a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen to without judgment. Find trusted people in your life to who you’d like to be able to vent and ask them if they’d be happy to listen. Talking to someone can relieve stress, allowing you to stay positive with their support.

·         Let People Take Care Of You

You must allow the people in your life to take care of you. These people care about you deeply, want to help you recover and seek to make your time spent ill more comfortable. Don’t shut them out or push them away! It’s lovely to set boundaries for lines you’d prefer not to be crossed, but don’t forget that you deserve to receive help in this difficult time.

·         Take Time to Care for Yourself to Stay Positive

When you’re sick, self-care often goes out the window. You forget to take the time to eat well, drink enough, take nice baths, and do things you enjoy. But how are you going to stay positive if you feel so awful? While illness can reduce the number of ways you can take care of yourself, there are always options you can use. Taking care of yourself while you’re sick means permitting yourself to nap multiple times daily. Other times, it means going for a short walk. Tailor your methods of self-care to your specific illness and circumstances.


3.    Stay Positive by Joining a Peer Support Group

Being ill can be incredibly isolating because your life changes so dramatically while the lives of those around you remain mostly constant. And, even when your loved ones do all they can to be there for you, the fact is that they might not fully understand what it’s like to be in your shoes.

Thankfully, we live in the internet age, where it’s easy to go online and find various support groups for those with all sorts of illnesses. Finding a community of people like you can make you feel less alone and help you stay positive. Better yet, these individuals may have unique advice and wisdom based on their experiences that can be helpful for you.

If you go for treatment somewhere regularly and have the energy, you can also try making friends in person. Having a “buddy” physically present in the same or similar circumstances can boost your mood and help you stay positive. After all, research shows that social relationships can have a pretty significant impact on health!

4.    Reflect on Life And Sickness

Many people receive a lot of extra time as a side effect of being sick. This often makes a positive mindset so tricky when you’re ill. You have all the time in the world, limited energy to fill it, and nothing but your thoughts for the company a lot of the time. This can quickly lead to depression, resentment in your life, and general negativity.

Instead of allowing yourself to wallow in self-pity, use these empty moments to reflect critically on life, sickness, and yourself. This can be a massive moment of self-discovery for you, and having this free time can allow you to get in touch with yourself on a deeper level. You’ll not just learn to stay optimistic right now but to stay positive in a healthy way long-term. Here are some potential topics for reflection:

·         Your Behavior and if it Serves You

Examine your recent behavior in light of your sickness. This doesn’t mean your actions or energy levels, but your personality and how it has responded to illness. Has your behavior served you, or has it harmed you? What kind of behavior would you instead put forward? How can you move toward adopting that desired behavior without falling into toxic positivity or repression?

·         The Universal Laws of Impermanence

The only thing sure in life is that nothing is permanent. Your current situation is not permanent. Your mood is not permanent. Your current state is not permanent. You will feel different tomorrow, even a little bit, than you feel today. You can take comfort in knowing that things can be better, that things have been worse, and that if things are worse tomorrow, well, you’ve overcome bad things before – because those bad things aren’t permanent!

·         Seek Out the Good Things Around You

Finding positive aspects of life when sick can be challenging, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Don’t allow yourself to get stuck in clouds of unhappiness that you can’t see through. Find things that you like and are grateful for despite everything. This can be simple, like a comforting warm drink in bed or the intrigue in the books you read and the shows you watch.

Positivity can also be more nuanced, like being grateful that you have time off work or being glad that you’ve been able to reconnect with someone since you’ve been sick. Challenge yourself to find good things around you. If you can’t find them, create them! Please arrange for your favorite flowers to be delivered to your house and display them in a nearby window. Curl up with a good book. Play music that you like. Make friends online. Good things are always enjoyed, even in the most challenging times.

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Final Thoughts On Some Ways To Stay Positive, Even Through An Illness

Optimism and positivity can be hard to maintain. It’s challenging to stay positive in everyday life, but when you’re sick, that can be even harder. Following these four tips for remaining positive in times of illness, you can slowly but surely rise from the fog that has obscured your world due to sickness.