March 3, 2010

MCS Healing Tools: Shifting Focus

One of the most valuable tools on my healing journey from chronic illness has been a willingness to shift my attitude and focus.

The process that has worked best for me goes something like this:

  1. Find things that bring me joy to do or think about (gardening, art, cats, nature)
  2. Do them as often as I can
  3. When I can't do them, think of doing them - imagine and envision it as richly as I can
and also, very importantly:

  1. Note what does not bring me joy (thinking about MCS stuff, limitations)
  2. Refrain from doing or thinking about it whenever possible
  3. When I notice myself thinking about something that doesn't bring me joy, STOP
  4. ... and consciously choose to think about (or better yet do) one of the things that does bring me joy

This may seem extremely simplistic or sound like those irritating people who tell us to 'think positive' but it has done wonders for me on my healing journey.

There is a real mind/body connection - and not in a 'new-agey' sense.
When we do things that feed our joy, a whole bunch of positive things happen physiologically in our bodies - making them much more able to heal or deal with stressors, exposures etc.
When we feed our pain, a whole bunch of negative things happen in the body - encouraging illness.
I have read that when we simply think of doing something, similar things happen in the brain and body.  So if we cannot actually DO the things that bring us joy, merely thinking of doing them can have wonderful physical effects - not to mention the great effect on our mood!

A critical part of Shifting Focus is avoiding thoughts that have what I call 'negative hooks'.
I have written more about this, including some more detailed instructions, in this post: Technique to Tap the Healing Power of Love

I'd love to hear what brings you joy to do or think of!
Please feel free to share in the comments area.


  1. I get joy when I'm lying in bed on my side & my cat climbs up on top of me & sleeps there. And I love thinking about it also.

    Similarly, I get joy when he decides to move down to my feet to curl up & even though the covers are between, it feels wonderful to slip my feet under him & feel his weight on me. And I love thinking about that too!

    I get joy from looking at & thinking about my orchids. :-)

    I get joy from seeing the sunlight on a sunny day - either looking at it out the window, or feeling it's warmth when I'm outside.

    I love your drawing! Thanks

  2. what wonderful joy things Katie!
    thank you for sharing them :-)

  3. That was a good reminder, thanks, Liberty. With that kind of thinking, you're well named :)
    May I ask a question? Do you know of a good dishwasher soap that didn't trigger you when you were more sensitive?

  4. hi Shayla,

    I only used the dishwasher a few times but what I used (and was totally fine with) was
    Nature Clean Dish Powder along with Nature Clean Rinse Agent.
    Some people don't use the rinse agent but I found it helped cut down on film left on dishes.
    I also made sure to rinse dishes right after use. I don't think the chlorine-free dishwashing powders can remove caked on food the same way.

    The dish powder is vulnerable to moisture so what I did (because I use it so seldom) was store it in glass jars instead of int he box. Not sure if that's necessary though.

    I've got tons left and if you'd like me to mail you a sample before you spend money on it, just let me know!
    I hope you find one that works well for you.
    take care

  5. here's a link Shayla :-)

    it seems they've slightly changed the formula of the rinse agent since I used it so I can't say if I reacted to then new one or not:

    I forgot to say that I had tried their dishwasher gel in the past and it did not work well for me.

  6. Shifting focus, I believe, was one of the most important things that I did on my healing journey as well. I so resonate with what you said.

    I realized that I had to stop defining myself by my illness.I changed gears and looked at all the positive things that I could do, instead of dwelling on all that I felt was taken away from me. It seemed small at first, but it made a huge difference in my health.

    In all, I could still laugh and I could still love. There really wasn't anything else that I needed in life.

  7. Amy Lee you said that all SO well!
    That's exactly how I feel and how I have experienced it.
    It seemed like a small thing (though not easy to do) but ended up having huge, far-reaching effects and making a big difference in my physical health!
    I'm so glad to hear you had such good results with it too.
    I love your attitude :-)
    Loving and laughing are priceless.

  8. Thanks for that info, Liberty. You would send me a sample? Thanks, you're the greatest!! I can't find your email address, so here's mine:'ll send you my mailing address by email.

  9. wow, that is so cool, I mean thinking about loving and laughing! I have been trying to make the thought transition and I have to admit it has been tough for me. I will continue to redirect my focus as much as I can. Also
    I have used 1 part borax with 1 part baking soda in the dishwaher and it works fine.

  10. hi Andrea,

    what are some things that you love in life?
    I found it helped me to actually make a list of things I love doing or things that make me feel good even to think about or see (eg babies laughing or tiny kittens meowing make me smile).


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