What makes you smile when things are tough? How do you deal with your emotions?

Living with a chronic illness or rare disease can cause all sorts of negative emotions, In the past I have hit rock bottom and as many of you will understand it isn't a great place to be. I took tiny steps to make improvements to my life to get myself back on the path I wanted to travel. I really had to think about what it was that made me smile, I also worked with a psychologist doing ACT. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) gets it name from one of its core messages: accept what is out of your personal control, and commit to action that improves and enriches your life.

At the time I was so poorly that I worked from 8am to 4pm and slept from 4pm to 6.30 pm, I stopped eating properly, exercising, visiting friends and family and looking after my home and 18 yr old daughter. I made tiny changes and looked for things that made me happy, however small they may have been to others. I became more mindful in everything I did, my usual drive to work was a stressful time where I worried how I would get through the day without needing to sleep in my lunch hour but once I resigned myself to dragging myself out of the rut I was in I started noticing all the beauty around me. Things I took for granted or never noticed started making me smile. Things like beautiful skies, clouds, the shapes or colours of trees and plants, the feel of a bubble bath, the taste of chocolate when savored etc.

I became a much more positive person as a result which really helped me 6 months ago when I found out that there was a chance I could have MS, I almost slipped back into negative thoughts but knew that I never wanted to go back to that horrible place again. I know have the definite MS diagnosis and it hasn't made a single difference to my symptoms or how I feel. I know that being positive won't get rid of symptoms or make you better but it can make a difference to how you live your life.

How do you all keep so positive and what makes you smile? Is there any tips you can give others to give them hope that things can and will improve with hard work and a positive attitude?

I've added a link to a song that makes me happy :)



Thanks Tizzy, this is just the kind of thing I wanted to hear… My guilty pleasure is also a bit of trashy tv, especially daytime tv if I’m off work for sickness or holiday… The odd trashy romance novel can put a smile on my face too… Love the not exercising excuse, I recently gave up the gym for 6 months, not because I couldn’t do it but because I DIDN’T want to, I was going through my MS diagnosis and decided that wasting hours of my time on the gym when I could spend it being lazy with family and friends were more important… I have now started cycling and running again but it will be a very very slow progression to gain any kind of fitness again… But what the heck…
What made me smile today, woke up to warm sunshine, this time last year we’d had weeks of freezing snow.!

Hi Laura, Reading about the MS just watched a magazine program see below, Don't know if you are already aware of this kind of treatment.


I have 2 cats, and they make me laugh every day, no matter how much the rest of life is frustrating me. Pewter and Speedbump - my chunky diva and my sweet spaz.

Passtimes that help me escape/smile are Scrabble on my iPad, reading fic/lit (digging into Libra by Delillo just now), watching series and movies on Netflix (waiting patiently for Mad Men s6), rooting for an NBA team, painting, and keeping in touch with old friends online (I've lived in every region of the US).

I feel less encumbered by EM when communicating with old friends (from before EM started) online, many of whom don't know anything is wrong (because I live hundreds of miles away from them now). They're little conversations that are pure and I don't feel the need to explain my appearance or inability to take part in anything. When I speak to people face-to-face it will inevitably come up - EM is my own personal raincloud, like Donald Duck had, hanging, waiting to ruin every encounter... but online it doesn't have to do that.

And coffee. I know it is a trigger for some, but so far I can still tolerate it. I like to smell the fresh grounds and just escape in it for a moment (like Laura talked of chocolate above)! We have to appreciate the little things more than most people, don't we?