Keeping Your Spirits High When Your Health Is Failing

It's difficult to maintain a positive outlook when your health is in decline. Difficult but not impossible! Explore these 7 tips to uplift the heart, soul and mind.
Asian senior in wheelchair smiles during a beautiful day in the park

Are you struggling to keep your spirits high? Are you dealing with ups and downs that you didn’t anticipate, don’t want, and wouldn’t wish on anyone?

It’s easier to stay upbeat and optimistic when things are going your way. Yet, it takes more courage and dedication to stay bright when things are not what you imagined.

If you’re facing a difficult time in your life, these 7 tips may help you keep the lights on in your heart. Perhaps you have some tips of your own to add. Let’s get started.

1. Today Is Uncharted

We all know that phrase, “today is the first day of the rest of my life.” It may seem corny. Hey, it kind of is. But sometimes corny is just what hits the spot. That’s the curious thing about finding ways to boost mental health.

Today isn’t over yet. If you’re reading this in the morning, you still have the afternoon and evening. If you’re browsing in the afternoon, you might encounter some joy at dusk. Keeping a lookout for the uncharted joys and unexpected moments of delight helps focus the mind on what isn’t known – and finding pleasure that you couldn’t possibly imagine.

2. Delight In Love

People love you. Your family. Your friends. Your children and grandchildren if you have them. People care, love, and wish you well.

Take a moment to delight in love. It’s infinite. It’s boundless. It’s here for you – anytime of the day or night. Delight in the presence of love in your life.

3. Enjoy Simple Pleasures

You may be finding some things that you used to enjoy are not available to you. Perhaps you liked an evening walk. Or a morning cup of coffee. Maybe you greeted the end of the day with a friendly glass of wine.

Some of these pleasures may be out of reach—for now. If so, find other simple pleasures to enjoy. Notice the changing light of the sun and moon. Stop and soak in the beauty of a flower. Sip on a cup of relaxing tea.

Rather than dwelling on what is not in your life, enjoy the simple pleasures that are available to you today.

4. Unplug
Older man sitting on yoga mat with legs crossed meditating

It’s often a habit to plug into the Internet, media, and news. Is it the most important thing right now?

Most often, you won’t miss a thing if you skip social media, turn off the news, or unplug your computer. You won’t miss the stress, mess, and sensory input. Instead, you’ll have time to do other things.

You might notice the sounds of birds chirping. You may find that you can sit outside and fill your lungs with fresh air. You might pick up a brush or pencil to sketch a feeling, idea, or image.

When you unplug from non-stop input, you can experience life in its preciousness – it is here waiting for you.

5. Bathe In Trees

There’s an ancient Japanese practice called Forest Bathing. It involves soaking in the energy, presence, and vibration of trees. If you’re near a forest, go to it. If you are near a park, find a comfortable spot. If you aren’t near a natural landscape, get up close to some plants, flowers, or bushes.

Bathing in the energy of nature is something that improves immunity, lifts the spirit, and energizes the body. Don’t worry – you don’t have to get super fit and into new hiking gear to enjoy this activity. Sitting or walking in nature is what is recommended.

Give it a try and see how to integrate this into your day or week.

6. Take Charge

Sometimes when things feel out of our control, mental health experts advise taking charge. It doesn’t have to be in a big, earth-shattering kind of way. Clear off a desk. Declutter a bookshelf – or just one-half of a shelf. Wash the dishes. Fold the laundry.

Practice taking charge by choosing short and specific projects. The smaller the better. If you notice that you are planning too much, take smaller bites. The goal is to practice taking charge. Focus on starting, doing, and completing. As you get familiar with taking charge, you are likely to feel a boost of confidence.

7. Notice What Works

Our minds often focus on what isn’t working, what could go wrong, or what went wrong. When we go down that pathway, guess how we’ll feel? Not great!

That’s why it helps to notice what is working, what could go right, and what did go right. This is a kind of mind training in noticing what is working.

Mind training can be compared to puppy training. For many of us, our minds have been racing around like an untrained puppy. We grab hold of this bone or that toy and then don’t let go. We might feel that our thinking is super important – even if it’s only focused on what’s going wrong.

Minds are flexible. We can notice what is going right. It may seem like a quirky or odd thing at first. Yet, if you notice what is going right, you are likely to notice more things that go right.

An early morning songbird. A smile. A butterfly. A fragrant cup of tea.

As you notice what works, you’ll get stronger at thinking this way. It’s a way to explore how gratitude works to improve mental health.

Noticing what’s going well kind of naturally leads you to record your observations. This is often what people do with taking photographs, making paintings, or keeping a gratitude journal.

Assistance Club Summary

What appeals to you? What do you want to do today to lift your spirits and brighten your day? With these tips as well as your own, it’s easier to say “Yes!” to life.