Often, when people have been diagnosed with a medical illness, they feel completely knocked off their center. They lose focus and perspective, and have a hard time stepping back to see past their illness.

This is not because they are weak or feel sorry for themselves – it’s because their life force is wrapped up in coping with their illness and the impact this illness has on their lives.

Many illnesses can be chronic and evolve over time. It’s hard to predict how your symptoms will develop and change, and how it might change your life and your day-to-day functioning.

Just simply living with a medical illness can often feel like a full-time job, leaving little time and energy for soul-searching and spiritual work.

Identify the aspects of your life that promote good health

Ask yourself: What aspects of my life promote good health? Identifying the things in your life that are supporting your health and happiness is helpful. That way, you better know where to direct future energy.

Identify the aspects of your life that get in the way of good health

This is also important to know. Once you can identify the aspects of your life that are obstacles to your health, you can take steps to address them.

Have a clear vision of what your life would look like if you were healthy

Having a specific and clear vision of your ideal, healthy life will help you channel your energy and focus in a positive direction, which will ultimately help you to manifest this vision.

Acknowledge how your illness may meet your needs

Ask yourself: Is there any way my physical illness serves me? This does not mean that you are to blame for your illness. This means that, like many other things in our lives, illnesses sometimes stick around to serve a purpose or meet a need.

Recognize what you might stand to lose by becoming healthier

Ask yourself: What do I stand to lose by becoming healthier and more powerful? As I mentioned in question #4, sometimes an illness is meeting a need, perhaps one that we are not even aware of. Take a moment and think about what you could possibly have to give up by being healthy.

Recognize what you might stand to gain by becoming healthier

Keeping your eye on the prize often serves as a boost to your efforts in being healthy.

Identify your pattern of symptom flare-up

Are there times when your symptoms are at their worst? For a week or so, keep a journal of the pattern of your symptoms and what is happening at those times. You may discover that your symptoms tend to flare up when facing certain situations or triggers.

Identify when your symptoms ease up

Are there times when your symptoms are at their least? Again, identifying the ebb and flow of your symptoms is a powerful tool in creating balance and health in your life.

Listen to what your body is trying to tell you

Ask yourself: What lesson could my symptoms be trying to teach me? What could I have to learn from my illness? Our bodies talk to us, whether or not we want to listen – or are ready to listen. Illness is an opportunity to learn valuable life lessons.

Keep in mind:

• You are not to blame for your illness.

• Just because the mind and body are closely linked, this does not mean that it is all in your head, or that you brought it on yourself.

Insight and revelations about your relationship with your illness are wonderful gifts in your journey toward health and happiness.