Sunday, January 03, 2016

Weekly Inspiration 1/3 - Lifetime Happiness

Happy New Year!

I just returned from a week in Jamaica with my extended family, a generous gift from my mother. It was a trip filled with ups & downs for me and often very difficult, though there were some good times, too. I'll tell you more about that later this week.

Since it is the start of a new year, I thought I would get back to blogging with a Weekly Inspiration post to inspire and motivate you for the new year!

I loved this brief (12 minutes) TED talk about the secrets to lifetime health & happiness. It is based on a remarkable study that followed over 700 men for over 75 years and is now following their children. No surprise to me - the study found that happiness did not come from wealth, fame, or high achievement. Take a look:



Spoiler alert - the secret to happiness is relationships and connection (but still watch the wonderful, funny presentation). This is something I figured out a long time ago, but I probably needed this reminder!

It is also something that is often a very challenging thing for people with ME/CFS and other chronic illnesses because we are usually - by necessity - isolated from friends, family, and other people. I think my week-long vacation with my family is a perfect example - I love them all, but it is exhausting for me to spend so much time with anyone.

So, a few resources and tips to help you with this very important part of life - perhaps that can be one of your goals for the new year - to strengthen relationships and become less isolated:

If you struggle with family relationships and getting extended family to understand your illness, check out my recent ProHealth article, Managing Family Relationships - Holidays and Beyond.

If friendships are more of a challenge for you and your illness has limited your interactions with friends, perhaps my own experiences with friends both old and new will inspire you to reach out this year to friends. You don't have to even leave the house - consider writing a letter or e-mail to a friend you've lost touch with or even reaching out on Facebook or making a phone call (if you can manage that). Here's my post on the Joys of Friendship.

As the speaker in this TED talk states, community is important, too - perhaps even more so for us. It is so rewarding to find others just like yourself who completely understand what you are going through. To find others - either locally or online - check out the tips in another ProHealth article I wrote, Birds of a Feather - the Joys of Community. For additional support online, this blog post lists some ME/CFS Groups on Facebook (and elsewhere online). In addition to the groups linked in that blog post, I recently joined another ME/CFS group on Facebook, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Global.

I hope those links and resources help you to strengthen your own relationships this year and become less isolated - let me know in the Comments how you keep relationships strong in the face of chronic illness.

Happy New Year!

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