Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain LIFE Spring 2015, Issue 11 - Page 20

BOUNCINGBACK: Finding Energy Resilience by Lucia Amsden inadequate, and out of the flow of the world. F or many of us who are living with chronic illness, loss of energy is a primary concern. We look back with yearning to an earlier time in our lives, when our energy seemed boundless. We think about how we have gone from seeing how much we could pack into our day, to wondering how we will even get through it. E ach time we wake up in the grip of fatigue, or have to cancel an anticipated lunch with a friend, or find ourselves dreading a vacation that should fill us with eager anticipation, we face again the energy gap that separates us from the lives we would like to live. We particlarly feel the energy gap as we see others around us continuing with the hustle and bustle that seem to define a useful and productive life. We look across the chasm and feel slow, 20  Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Life T here are tools, however, that can help us overcome our energy limitations. One especially useful concept for dealing with energy limitations is energy resilience. When we are more energy resilient, we are less likely to be drained by events and circumstances. Our energy levels rebound more quickly and completely. A s is often the case, awareness is where we must begin. We all know we have an energy gap to deal with, but we need to be aware that our energy level is dependent on more than just our physical condition. Our thoughts and emotions also play a large part in how much energy we feel. O ur minds and bodies have a powerful connection. The challenges of our illness can Spring 2015 make us feel negative about ourselves, about those around us, and even about our lives in general, and that is a major cause of low energy. We’ve all been through the down times, when we are unhappy, frustrated, or sad; and we are more familiar than we would like to be with the feeling of being drained that results. O n the other hand we have all experienced happy times, periods when we lived less in our illness and more in the rest of our lives. Those are times of good energy—we flow along with our friends and the events around us. The mind-body connection has a huge impact on how we feel in any given moment. N euroscience tells us that due to the fight or flight response, humans have a tendency to believe negative thoughts more readily than positive ones.