My thoughts about exercise are that exercising is as essential as breathing. We can exercise our body in many ways, but the exercise I want to offer today, called Dream work, is to exercise our mind.
The disability of losing the ability to walk can be an incredible motivator or it can lock you into discouraging thoughts. There are 2 paths I found in dealing with disabilities. I could focus on the thoughts and fears of what was happening to me, which would leave me completely discouraged. Or I could be so clear on what I wanted that it forced me to discover new ways to accomplish my goals.
MS is a tricky illness. Disabilities can come and go without any logical explanation. People have said, “You have to eat this food.” “ You have to do this kind of exercise.” “ You have to have this kind of medical treatment.” I think they are all right, but I think the most important thing when facing a disability is to trust yourself and be clear on your goal. Our body has an inner wisdom that can guide us and make us more receptive to the right kind of treatments. That happens when you are clear on your goal. E.g., the first time my walk was limited, I began to realize that the doctors did not have the answer and there was nowhere to turn to find out how to control my mobility.
I developed a technique called Dreamwork to accomplish what I was unable to do. Before I went to sleep, I visualized what I wanted to have happen. In psychology, dreams are defined as a way of completing unfinished business. Imaging what I wanted as I dealt with a disability created unfinished business. I found in my dreams I could walk the way I wanted and that had an effect on my walk in real life. My partner would tell me that my legs were moving in my sleep.
After 28 years dealing with MS, I began to see the power of reaching beyond the way I was conditioned to think. When I dealt with MS challenges I needed to work on, I tried to go beyond my thoughts to connect to these inner resources. I have taught myself to walk 3 times. I do not think positive thinking or mental exercises are a cure for MS disabilities, for I am in a wheelchair today. I do think that using your whole brain to deal with these challenges may not cure the disability itself The real fight comes from aspiring to a quality life as you work on your disability.
My book, A Healthy Way to be Sick, presents the idea of coping with struggles from a deeper perspective than anxious thoughts. I feel that is our greatest fight in MS; when the quality of life is limited by our own mind, it is hard to deal with the MS challenges.
The quality of your life does not depend on the health of your body or your degree of disability; it depends on your focus. When you lose the ability to focus on your goal and what you really want, the symptoms of MS become harder to deal with. I honestly feel there is quality of life in every stage of MS.
Marc Lerner has written e-books to empower patient participation. Go to Amazon/Kindle.com to find the books Marc has written. They will help you recondition your mind so that health challenges make you stronger, instead of defeating you.