In 49 years of suffering from systemic Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, with constant and never-ending pain and aches, and MANY other challenges that come with JRA, I needed something to help maintain my own positivity. I use this strategy a LOT and I know it will help you.
Think of the 2 or 3 most challenging times of your life.
Perhaps you are living through one right now or, like me, you may live with a chronic illness that affects you every second of every day. Maybe someone that you love a lot died and you have never completed the grief cycle.
None of us can escape the common life events that everyone goes through during a lifetime. All of us experience, either ourselves or people we know the death of loved ones, getting fired, dying in tragic accidents, dying young, and the list can go on and on.
If you live in a North America, or any developed country, almost every problem or challenge affecting you is VERY likely be a better place to go through it than in the 40% to 50% of the countries where people live on less than $2/day.
You are no nicer or more deserving to live in North America, or any developed country, than people in 2nd and 3rd world countries. That thought alone can help you with any problem. At least you are going through it in a 1st world, developed country when BILLIONS of people are poor and starving.
I have been hospitalized about 40 times, for JRA flare-ups and joint replacement surgeries. Because I live in Canada, it cost me and my family no money. Although those hospitalizations were all miserable and tough to go through, not having it cost any out of pocket money is a global blessing. It would not even be possible in most countries.
Here are a few examples of what I think about and tell myself to activate its power.
I have had systemic Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA) since the age of 5. Of the over 120 types of arthritis, Rheumatoid is the worst. Adding Juvenile and systemic makes it the worst of the worst of the types of RA. Systemic means it affects every joint in my body, from my jaw to my toes. A small % of RA patients are systemic. (Look up differences and add here). Another small % of RA patients are diagnosed when they are young.
I don't know what the age cutoff is for the Juvenile description but I know 5 qualified and still qualifies. My Rheumatologist recently told me that, even though I am 54 years old, JRA is still what it is referred to.
During my 49 years living with JRA, I have been hospitalized for flare-ups and surgeries about 40 times. I have had 4 hips, 4 knees, and 2 shoulders replaced, which makes me sound like a spider. I live with constant aches, pain, and inflammation every second, in various places and at various pain levels.
Suppose that there are 1 million people in the world living with JRA. Now suppose we ask those 1 million people who would trade places with me. Remember, these are people from around the world, and I live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Consider that about 40% of the world population lives on less than $2 a day, in 3rd world countries, with zero access to doctors, hospitals and medications. Maybe they live in a country where the cost of healthcare is very high and they have no medical coverage. Maybe the person doesn't have the amazing parents, sisters, friends, church, condo, car, and income that I have been blessed with.
I imagine that over 750,000, maybe many more, of those 1 million people with JRA would trade places with me, and be very happy about it. While I am going through times of added aches, pain and fatigue, I remind myself that many people around the world, not just JRA patients, would trade places with me in a second.
Another time I used this strategy is when I scratched my red Hyundai Genesis Coupe 2L turbo on a post in the underground parking of the condo that my wife Kim and I lived in at the time. I loved that car and I was quite upset about what I had just done.
After a few minutes of negative thinking, and getting to my destination, I wondered to myself what % of the world's population owns a car. Since Google knows everything, I searched it. The answer is about 7%. Instead of being thankful for being blessed enough to own a nice sports car, when 93% of the world does not own a car. My thinking changed instantly and I felt so much gratitude.