Mental Fitness – Staying Positive Despite Your Psoriasis
As I have learned over the years, positivity can play a big role in my overall health when dealing with my psoriasis. In my mind, stress or negative influences are sort of like the “Wicked Witch of the West” - like psoriasis, she's mean, ugly, unexpected, and a pain in everybody's... well you get my point. We may get flare-ups, experience soreness and inflammation just by stressing out about all the things we endure on a daily basis. All of these occurrences may be linked to a LACK of mental positivity. So, I'm sure your next question may be, “Well, Jonathan how do YOU focus on positivity in your own life?” It's rather simple (at least in theory), right? Just implement positive practices.
For me, positivity is the fuel that keeps me motivated from one day to the next. Personally, I use a series of “positivity practices” on a consistent basis:
- Goal visualization
I feel that each of these tools allow me to stay mentally fit and capable of coping with all of the experiences life has to offer — be they good, bad, or neutral in nature.
I am a very visual person; for you guys that don't know me outside of being a professional athlete, I have a strong passion for music, videography, and the visual arts. In order to successfully execute my goals in all aspects of life, I take time to actually write down my goals in order to visually expand on my thoughts.
For instance, when I want to create a video project, I first think of the emotion I want to convey. I write down those emotions and then visualize how I want the audience to feel.
For instance, let's say I want to convey a message of “Families love dogs.” I first think of the emotions that relate to love... the first thing that comes to mind is HAPPY. So when I create something, I have to be mindful of what is interpreted as happy. Now, not to bore you with my “own” creative process…but let's try the following exercise to prove a point.
A kid rolling on the floor in the living room laughing and playing with a dog whose tail wags vigorously as she licks the child's face repeatedly with affection. Meanwhile, two parents are standing side-by-side with their arms embracing one another beholding the adorable scene. With that being said, could you visualize the message of dog-loving family? Do you see love? Do you see happiness? If your answer is yes, I implore you to do the same with your life!
Not to sound immature or silly but, in my humble opinion, visualization is a lot like having a deliberate daydream. To me, it is the simple notion of how I see myself, the world, my faith, sports, food, or any outcome in life. Do you see yourself as an advocate for education? Or perhaps a business owner? Or even a spokesperson for the fight towards a cure of Psoriatic Disease? In that case...
Visualize it. Write It. Claim It. Do It.
Which leads me to my next point, I have played at EVERY level when it comes to competitive sports; everything from middle school all the way to the pros. The common thread that differentiated those who succeeded was confidence. Take it from me, without self-affirmation you will not achieve self-confidence. How do you do that?
- BELIEVE in your worth, talents and aspirations.
- KNOW your value as a person and HONOR your innate gifts.
Therefore, when doubt creeps into your mind in the form of excuses, complacency, and negativity, combat it with self-affirming words and practices!
That said, I believe it would be irresponsible to say that you can never have too much confidence. On the flip side, overconfidence can also be detrimental to personal growth. Confidence tempered with humility is the key. I remember my uncle used to say, “Pride is the overconsumption of self-confidence.” In other words, the manifestation of pride is merely an overindulgence on “self.”
When dealing with a constant influx of information every single day, I use meditation to find my happy place; it's my “ahhh” moment. My “ahhh” moment is listening to music on my old-school record player, and just letting the music take me away; and when I say “take,” I mean fully “enjoying the process” by relaxing, and letting one's mind stretch past the confinements of your everyday routine
For others, that meditation could take the form of running, yoga, reading, fishing, hunting, or whatever. As long as you find yourself saying “Ahhh” (at least figuratively) then THAT is your happy place and could potentially be your own type of meditation. I feel that meditation should be YOUR own individual process to decompress and relax; it does not have to be anyone else's process.
With all these methods, I find these tools to fuel my mind and spirit towards the fight against psoriatic disease every single day. I constantly remember the phrase my father coined every single day since I was in elementary, Never give up. Never lose hope. Confidence and determination can pay long-lasting dividends.
Any suggestions made are not intended to replace the advice of a qualified medical professional. Please consult your healthcare provider prior to making any changes to your treatment, exercise or diet routine.