This relaxation for chronic illness can help you to find ways to deal with the frustration of being ill or experiencing a chronic condition. Practice being kind to your body and living a meaningful life even with a chronic disease or condition.
Get comfortable, preparing to relax. Find a position sitting or lying down, and start to relax your body.
Take a deep breath in…and breathe out…
Continue to breathe deeply, slowly, and comfortably.
I’ll count down now, from 10…to 1. As I say each number, allow your mind and body to become more relaxed.
10…feeling your muscles start to relax…
9…your hands and feet are warming and relaxing…
8…your muscles are becoming loose and heavy…
7…notice your attention drifting…becoming more relaxed…
6…relaxing even further now…peaceful…
5…a tingly feeling of relaxation spreading through your body…pleasant and relaxed…
4…further relaxed and peaceful…
3…free of tension…
2…almost completely relaxed now…
1…. you are now deeply relaxed.
Very deeply relaxed and comfortable.
As you become more and more deeply relaxed, think about the chronic illness or condition you have been dealing with.
You probably have many upsetting thoughts and feelings associated with the chronic illness. You may feel at war with your own body, and be angry and upset with your body. Having a chronic illness can feel like your body is betraying you. Chronic mental illness is associated with similar ideas and feelings as chronic physical illness – it can feel like your brain is betraying you. The brain is part of the body, and for the purposes of this exercise, I will refer to the brain and body as simply “the body.”
It is okay to be upset. It’s perfectly normal to have feelings of anger and frustration when dealing with chronic illness.
Take a moment to explore the questions you may have about your chronic illness.
You may have thoughts and questions such as:
Why is my body attacking itself?
Why is my body causing me so much pain and fatigue?
It can be frustrating when no suitable answers are found. Often people who are chronically ill feel upset and guilty and may blame themselves, believing that they are missing out on life or are not making meaningful contributions to the world.
Our thoughts contribute greatly to our wellness. Thinking negative, critical thoughts of your self, your body, or your situation can keep you stuck and prevent healing. Let’s take a few moments to turn around some of the upsetting thoughts, and to find a more healing perspective.
Imagine a feeling of warmth and caring toward your body.
Look at your body with an attitude of forgiveness. Your body is like a child, who is just trying to work through something. Your body is doing the best that it can to deal with the chronic illness and keep you as healthy as possible.
The chronic illness is not your fault. Even if you have done things that worsen your symptoms, it is not your fault you are ill. For example, if you feel ill because you ate something that causes a bad reaction, the reaction is because of the illness, and it is not your fault you have the illness.
Help your body to deal with the chronic illness and to heal. Treat your body like a child who is doing the best that it can.
Take a few moments now to imagine looking at your physical and emotional being, looking at yourself with forgiveness, warmth, and caring.
Treat your body with kindness, not only in your physical care for your body, but in the way you mentally respond to your body. Be kind in your actions and in the thoughts that you think.
Take on a responsibility for mentally caring for your body, allowing your body to heal.
Being chronically ill can be very traumatizing. You may wonder, “why me?” and feel very isolated and alone. You may have experienced years of being debilitated and isolated, and unable to participate in so many of life’s activities.
Dealing with chronic illness can be frightening, as you wonder what the future holds. Will the symptoms get worse? Will your abilities decline? Many fears about the unknown can arise. It is normal to experience fear. It is okay to feel angry about going through this. It is not fair.
Although you may feel alone, there are many others who have experienced chronic illness, and your feelings are completely normal. You are not the only one who has experienced this and you are not the only one who has felt this way.
People with chronic illness can still be good people and contribute to the world, even in small ways.
You may have felt completely debilitated, but there are things that you can do and ways that you can contribute. Perhaps you need to consider other ways to contribute that you have not thought of before. Act according to your capabilities. Maybe in the past you have pushed yourself to do too much, too soon, and when you experienced difficulty you believed that you are incapable, but the reality is, you ARE capable of many things. You need to evaluate how much you are capable of at a given time, and plan to do less than the maximum, so you can successfully complete a task without becoming overloaded.
You are not always missing out on life but rather just have to find other ways to live meaningfully.
Imagine the following affirmations as completely true in this moment. Hold each affirmation in your mind, taking in each one.
I refuse to see my body as a total failure and something that just makes life so difficult. Instead, I see my body as doing the best that it can, like a child that is trying to work through something.
I am grateful to my body for trying its best.
I am capable of many things.
No one is capable of everything, and it is okay to find some things difficult.
My body is just trying to work through something the best way it can.
There are others who go through this who understand.
I live meaningfully.
I find meaning in things that make me feel good.
I am kind to my body, every moment of every day.
I am okay just the way I am.
Even though it can be difficult to deal with chronic illness, I respect my body as I get through this.
I am healing.
My body helps me get well.
My mind and body are a unified team and I love and respect my body and mind.
Now allow yourself to just relax…and drift…and let the affirmations sink in…deep into your subconscious.
The love, caring, and compassion you are showing toward your body can remain forever. Always continuing to love and respect yourself. Accepting that you are doing the best you can, and you are a valuable person who can contribute to the world, who can help others, and who can enjoy life.
Continue to respect your body by taking care of yourself the very best that you can – mentally, physically, and emotionally.
Now you can choose to reawaken or drift off to sleep. I will count to three. If you choose to reawaken, become more awake and alert with each number, until at three you have reached full awareness and are completely awake and energetic.
If you choose to sleep, become more and more deeply relaxed with each number, gently drifting off to sleep.