Chronic illness can foster a bad attitude. Have you noticed how negative thinking creates negative behavior? Now flip that idea and you’re into the positive psychology school of thought. I’m skeptical about ‘quick fixes’ for tough, long standing behavior.
But from my own experience, you can retrain the way you think. It takes 3 things: determination, hard work and patience.
When I returned to work after several years of illness-induced unemployment, I knew the toughest part for me would be keeping a positive mental attitude at work. I’d always been able to stay upbeat about my health yet I’d get very negative about work.
But I could no longer afford that attitude. I challenged myself to change my thinking. I did. And that has been one of my proudest accomplishments in my professional life.
No doubt it’s easier for some to take charge of their thoughts than others. Most of us have to adopt new practices and work long and hard to change how we think about things to create new behavior.
Recently, a client was talking about her anger at work. She’d asked for certain accommodations that she believed would allow her to move from part time status to full time. Her request was rejected and she’s deeply angry. Her anger about her illness — and other life difficulties – have surfaced with this. Very understandable. But now her bad mood at work has created worse problems. For the first time, she’s getting negative performance feedback .
Working from my workbook with The Pulse, an exercise I created, she’s practicing to be more self observant and slow down her responses. It’s not a quick fix. It might not help her keep this job but she can learn to understand her experience and manage her emotions and thoughts better for the long haul.
Living with illness presents the challenges, frustrations, loss and opportunities. The same as healthy people face. But because we’ve lost so much, we have to work harder to make the most of what is available to us.
When you’re in pain or fatigue, it’s tempting and easy to be angry or sad. How much does that influence your behavior? Does it get in your way? What can you do?
PASS THE WORD:
MOTHER’S DAY SPECIAL: Do you want to work with a coach to achieve greater job satisfaction? For the month of May 2010, I am offering a special deal to all newsletter subscribers:
When you make an investment in your career and sign up for 3 months of career coaching with me, you will get 50% off my regular fee for 3 months. (That’s a $450.00 savings!) And you get my workbook ($40), pictured above, for free.
Note: You must have a chronic illness or chronic condition and you must be currently employed or actively looking for a new job or career.
Want to know more? Email me, Rosalind@cicoach.com, and put May Special in the subject line.