By Akhila Gullapuram MS,RD
The thought of dialysis brings in anxiety to many minds even if their doctor would have told them about it well in advance. Dialysis brings in a sense of hope for life, along with many fears attached. The thought of life taking a complete U turn is enough for the devastating feeling. Thoughts of uncertainty dominate over the new life. Emotions such as anger, irritation, frustration, bitterness, jealousy, insecurity may surface easily due to unfulfilled desires. Feelings of hopelessness and negativity are common during such challenging times.
Capacity to see good even in adversity is not easy especially when the body is in pain. Combined to that if there are financial issues to take care of, dialysis and many adjustments required on the part of the family members, tendency to blame oneself can cause feelings of unworthiness. Many research studies have pointed out that some dialysis patients may have some symptoms of depression, a common problem encountered with dialysis.
All the feelings arise from the thoughts one creates. On an average it is said that human brain can create 50,000 to 60,000 thoughts a day. Most of these thoughts are repetitive in nature mostly indulging in self-talk. It can be anyone’s guess if the mood of a person is not good as to what kind of thoughts they might be creating. Repeated moody nature will make it a habit and in turn become a personality.
One can argue that cumbersomeness and complexity of dialysis never allows a person to emerge out of the negative thoughts. As a dietitian, I see very often that people who can easily follow the dietary changes or prescription still do not do it. Most actions are a result of their attitude which are formed due to their feelings arising from their belief system and thoughts.
The quality of thoughts will determine if you will feel sad or good most of the time. For that matter this law is applicable to all, not just for people on dialysis. It just becomes more important during challenging times to turn your time into good. Better quality of thoughts will give better feelings. Good feelings will result in good attitude. A good attitude will help you perform all actions which are good for you and result in a better you. Positive thoughts are those thoughts which you want and love! Blame, criticism, finding fault and complaining are all forms of negativity and are thoughts which you don’t want or love.
To Create Positive thoughts:
- Keep the thoughts peaceful : What you watch on TV, the music you listen, how your room looks, the people whom you associate with, the books you read, the websites you surf, the movies you watch etc. – a majority of the thoughts arise from these situations and your environment which will make your mind more restless or good.
- Start your day with the most pure and positive thoughts by reading or listening to something which calms your mind. Feeding negative or disturbing information first thing in the morning is like laying a poor foundation and trying to build a tall building.
- Use your feelings as cue to change your thoughts instead of carrying away yourself and indulging in more painful self-talk. Since feelings happen only after thoughts, learn to be aware of your thoughts.
- To learn to be aware of thoughts: Read or listen to a book you like which keeps you calm not excited, or a religious /spiritual book which soothes your mind and then sit in silence for 10 to 15 minutes each day to watch your thoughts first thing in the morning. Practicing to learn to watch your thoughts will allow you to step out of the situation and will give you more power to control your actions instead of reacting due to your old thinking pattern.
- Maintain a good self-image: Remind yourself that you are unique in your own way irrespective of physical limitations. Be aware of your strengths. Comparing your life with others will eventually kill your self-esteem. Seek the beauty through your inner eye. Positive thinking will naturally happen with a good self- image.
- Most people are very good in helping others to come out of negative feelings than themselves. Before you learn to do it yourself, you can seek support of any close friend or family member you can trust to offer positive encouragement and feedback when you go through negative feelings.
Put in all your efforts in nurturing yourself by doing things you enjoy and surround yourself with optimistic people to encourage positive thinking in your life.