Why Acceptance is Important in Chronic Pain & Illness

Acceptance When Suffering With Chronic Pain and Illness

Living with chronic pain and illness can be overwhelming, isolating and downright scary at times. But, working towards developing acceptance of your circumstances, and learning to live with it is key to leading a more joyful life. In this blog, we explore ways to accept the reality of chronic illness and pain as well as live a beautiful life alongside it.

Allow Your Feelings

Acknowledge the emotions you feel in response to your illness. It's okay to feel sad, overwhelmed, resentful or grieved - accept your feelings and give them space to exist. At the same time, remember that these feelings are transient; they change and pass over time allowing more positive coping strategies to come through. So, try not to ruminate on these negative feelings too long if they do not pass right away.

Connect with Others Who Can Relate

Finding people with whom you can relate to is a key part of accepting and living with chronic illness and pain. Connecting with others who understand what it’s like can help make managing your illness easier, as you’re no longer handling it solo. Look for online support groups specifically addressing similar challenges you have or that cater to managing chronic illness and pain. It's important to find people who are sympathetic and will not invalidate your experiences or opinions.

Setting Healthy Boundaries Where Possible

Of course, it's also important to make any necessary changes in your life. Adjusting to living with chronic illness and pain begins by making lifestyle modifications that improve your overall health and well-being. This may include eating a healthier diet, exercising more or less, limiting stressors, or even trying alternative forms of help like acupuncture, meditation, yoga, Reiki or herbal supplements. With diligence and effort, you can work to cope better, and find a sense of normalcy again.

Identify New Goals and/or Purpose in Life

Acceptance of chronic illness and pain includes looking for new ways to find joy and fulfillment. It's important to identify new hobbies, activities, and goals that you can pursue in order to get more out of life. This could be taking classes on a subject you've always been interested in, giving back to your community through volunteerism, starting a side business, or simply finding time everyday to relax, and reconnect with yourself, while doing something that brings you joy. Finding meaning and purpose in life despite chronic illness and pain can be a difficult, but ultimately a worthwhile, transformative journey.

Reach Out for Professional Help When Needed

Finding acceptance in regards to chronic illness and pain can be difficult, and feeling discouraged is completely normal!  Please never hesitate to reach out and talk with a mental health professional if needed. Seeking help from a qualified psychologist or other mental health professional can provide good guidance in order to work through intrusive thoughts or feelings that can arise from having a long-term illness and pain. Seeking advice is not a sign of weakness, it’s just taking the important step of being proactive about your own personal well-being.