Happiness: In Sickness and In Health

Can you be happy during illness?

Thursday I got sick. It hit hard and fast and I felt awful. In making positivity my practice, I learned that my experience of the cold was very different than any I had experienced in the past. For one: I did not complain. That is not to say that I did not tell my wife of my symptoms – I did. But I did not keep telling her my symptoms over and over. I didn’t moan either. In fact, to myself, I quietly repeated the positive affirmation “I am healthy.” The other deviation was that I was pleasant to be around. Traditionally I have given myself permission to be quite grumpy in the past, justifying my behavior with my illness. I guess I must be doing a good job of rewiring my brain for Happiness because this notion actually seemed strange to me in my current mindset. The other thing I did right was something I have done right in the past: I also asked for what I wanted. Specifically, medicine, aspirin and a sherbert float with 7up. I also asked her to take my temperature (101). I had heard about this nasty bug going around. The rumor was that it hits hard and fast and vanishes in about 24 hours. Mine lasted about 18. Did positivity help to cure me faster? I can only speculate. I can tell you that having a more positive attitude during my illness did, at least emotionally, made me feel better. It’s amazing how once positivity has seeped down into your way of life it effects how you deal with everything: big and small, good and bad, health and sickness.

~Frank Clayton, Licensed Professional Counselor

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