Optimal well-being and happiness, something we all inherently desire, requires that we honor all aspects of our life. Our work, personal growth and development, social life, relationships, spiritual wellness, emotional well-being and physical health. We cannot reach our full potential by only focusing on one area. This includes our physical health. Too much or too little focus prohibits us from reaching our full potential. To live fully, you must learn to balance your approach to managing your health.

Too often, when chronic health challenges are present, you might fall into the habit overfocusing on your health challenges or avoiding thinking about them all together in an attempt to feel well, participate in activities you enjoy and achieve your goals. Unfortunately, this can hold you back from living fulling.

The unintended consequence of this unbalanced approach is that you enable your health challenges control your life by either:

  • being hypervigilant and trying to control all your triggers to avoid painful or intrusive symptoms or a flare-up or
  • denying or minimizing the impact of the health issue and ‘pushing’ through because this health challenge or illness is not going to stop you! (until it does)

It’s possible you will experience both reactions at different stages of your journey. Wherever you are now in your journey, it’s important to give yourself self-compassion as you navigate these waters.

Over my lifetime, in an attempt to feel better and live a life of success, I have been guilty of living at each end of the spectrum. And probably just about all areas in between! While living in denial and living a hypervigilant lifestyle both provided important life lessons, neither resulted in optimal living.

A Deeper Look at Denial

If you are determined not to let health challenges slow you down, you may come up with a hundred other excuses as to why you are tired, exhausted, in pain, having increased symptoms and stressed.

Chances are you have periods where you feel “good” and are able to be really productive. Then you have a spell where you’re exhausted to your core and your symptoms are more active. I call this the cycle of setbacks and it can feel like being on a never-ending hamster wheel.

This constant pressure on yourself, in conjunction with these setbacks does not allow you to live fully. You’re lacking balance aruond your health and it holds you back from reaching your full potential with your work. Deep down, you know that, but you don’t want to be perceived as someone with health challenges.

Until you learn to truly manage these challenges, you’ll continue to push through, causing unnecessary suffering and holding yourself back from your true potential.

A Look at Hypervigilance

On the opposite end of the spectrum, you might be doing everything in your power to manage and manipulate all aspects of your life and activities in order to avoid a flare-up or certain symptoms.

You have learned that by being hypervigilant about your triggers, you can greatly diminish your symptoms. You feel safer.

Sometimes the health challenges you are dealing with can feel so scary that you don’t know how else to get by. And there might be appropriate periods to be hypervigilant to protect yourself; but hypervigilance can become a habit. And when that happens, you can’t possibly be living your fullest life.

Your life might feel restrictive, constrained. You might even notice tinges of fear around activities you’d love to participate in or around taking on new work or a new project. You want to protect your health, and you know things have to change, but you don’t know how to shift your lifestyle in a way that won’t result in more health challenges.

Denial and Hypervigilance Around Health in Relation to Control, Loss and Grief

Minimizing the impact of your health challenges and/or hypervigilance around them both cause unecessary suffering that holds you back from living fully.

Whether you have the tendency towards denial or hypervigilance – if you are living at either end of this spectrum – you’re spending your life trying to control and manipulate the outcome. The very thing you do not want to have controlling your life – your health – is controlling your life. I know you want more than that for yourself. So do I.

You might have felt a pang of denial in reading that your health might be controlling your life. A reaction of “Not me!” Perhaps even a visceral gut feeling that this is not you? Or perhaps you felt a sense of relief, that relief that someone finally understands. Pay attention to those feelings. They share important information. Honor the feelings. Explore them. You can learn from these insights and grow. This is how listening to our mind and body can help us heal.

Acknowledging Loss

Whether you lean towards denial, hypervigilance or oscillate between the two ends of the spectrum in managing your health, know that it’s okay. Health challenges, whether they have a sudden and significant impact on your life or have slowly and insidiously invaded your life, result in loss.

This loss can include not being able to fully participate in activities you once loved, and can impact your work, social life and relationships. You might also experience a financial loss and even a loss of a sense of self at some point. Know that you are not alone.

The need to grieve the losses or impacts of health challenges is very real. Denial is a part of a grieving process. We don’t want to lose what was – or what could be. Hypervigilance is a way to try to stay safe, to protect ourselves from further pain, symptoms and losses.

This article ‘Understanding The Seven Stages of Grief and Chronic Illness‘ discusses the stages of grief for chronic disease (adapted by Amanda Pratt). Denial is the first stage; acceptance is the last. Like all grieving, it is rarely a straight path.

Healing takes courage

Healing is not easy. You must navigate managing your well-being within a society that both influences the root cause of so many health conditions and which employs roadblocks to the healing process itself, offering little in the way of support for long-term chronic health conditions.

As you navigate your journey, there are actions you can take to work with and support your health challenges, so you can live more fully now.

By learning to balance your attention – observing the signals your body is sharing and choosing which to give attention to – you put yourself back in the driver’s seat. You regain your power of self-autonomy. It’s a feeling of empowerment. But where do you begin?

Four Actionable Ways to Balance Your Approach to Managing Your Health

Happy stylish brunette business woman with computer manage your health
Learning to prioritize which aspects of your health to focus on first, while having a go-to action plan for when those symptoms flare, will help you live life more fully every day.

By taking time to sit with your experiences, you can gain valuable information, skills and strategies to better manage your health. The key is to slow down, pause and be fully present with the experience.

From this place of calm and focus, you can learn to:

  1. Understand the signals your body is sharing and use that information to prevent or diminish flare-ups.
  2. Prioritize your top three symptoms based on financial, emotional and well-being impact. No more trying to manage or ignore ALL the symptoms.
  3. Identify the key triggers of your top three symptoms and create a plan to manage these triggers.
  4. Have a plan of action to implement immediately when any one of these symptoms appear to reduce the impact on your health, business and finances.

When you balance how you address your health in this way, you focus your time, energy and resources on a few of your symptoms. You live with a healthy balance, neither denying your challenges nor being hypervigilant around all aspects of your health challenges.

You feel freer! You’re able to live life more fully while you also work on managing your health without the overwhelm of trying to manage everything. Through my own work and that of clients, I’ve found this balanced approach is also much more efficient.

And then You BalanceUP® Your Health

Over time, you’ll be amazed at how you begin to naturally manage these key triggers as part of your lifestyle. One day, you might even realize that real healing is occurring. You’ll realize those key symptoms no longer require so much attention. Celebrate, and then select the next few symptoms to focus on, based on those which now have the greatest negative impact on your life. When you’re ready, repeat this process with the next set, and so on.

This process of peeling away the layers, one at a time rather than trying to fully manage everything at once, in part led to the concept of BalanceUP®. As you bring balance to your life and healing, you then get to work on the next layer. And then the next. Each time balancing up. This concept applies to more than managing your symptoms. You can also apply it to your inner harmony and life at large. I find it an exciting way to live fully, each day in the present.

If you’d like to learn how to balance your approach to managing your health, contact me using the form below to discuss my program Thriving Through Self-Awareness, part of The Power of I Can’t series.

In addition to creating a custom flare-up management plan unique to your symptoms, you’ll gain LIFE CHANGING SKILLS around how to experience deeper awareness. And that in itself, supports you in living life more fully.

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Simone Giangiordano, better known as Simone G, is the creator of BalanceUP® Community. She is a business and lifestyle coach who has helped hundreds of clients create a business that works for their unique lifestyles. This despite being told by multiple doctors and professionals that she should not work and to just get on disability because of her chronic health issues. She has used her nearly 2 decades experience in the corporate world and more than 15 years’ experience as an entrepreneur, trainer, and business coach to create the Building Balance to Empower® programs, including her signature program The Power of I Can't® to help individuals with heath challenges create and live a life of peace, joy and yes… success.Learn more about Simone G's story.

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