Chapter 2 The Survive-and-Thrive Mindset

“To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”
Alfred, Lord Tennyson

I am often asked how I didn’t give up despite all the pain and psychological agony I endured across decades when health professionals told me to expect no end to it. I’ll share my answer with you because it is integral to recovery. It was the mindset I developed.

The mindset covers such ideas as realizing that the world is a place where values are possible to you, and that reason can solve any problem. It requires recognizing the supreme importance of your life and that you are on an epic, unrepeatable journey. It means holding that your life is important to you and that it is up to your choices and actions to drive your life. It takes realizing and knowing that you are the hero of your own life. Nothing will change without you taking action; even choosing to accept help from someone else is up to you.

The mindset entails finding, naming, and cultivating your strengths to determine your unique value to cherish. It requires building a never-ending growth mentality to continually strive for more, to learn more, and to do more to reach your values–in whatever scope your ambition and your health makes possible to you. It means making your life as good as possible and achieving as much happiness as you can. It requires building the best relationships to nourish your soul with those close to you. It calls for consuming as much great art as possible to surround yourself with the grandeur of life and identifying with the qualities in it that you possess.

Another part of this mindset is acknowledging the negatives of your situation with full awareness and feeling the uncomfortable emotions and working through them. This mindset cannot stop the reality of what’s happening to your body. Your journey to your best health will take your best effort, and will likely be fraught with difficulties, bring you to tears, and might make you wish something would make the pain and suffering end. Pretending that the negatives don’t exist and slapping a smile on your face with blind optimism or “loving what is” no matter the pain or circumstance doesn’t work. That approach only pushes the thoughts out of your mind, setting up a timebomb down the road with emotional stress. This mindset minimizes focus on negatives by relishing the good in your life and recalibrating your attention to notice all the values around you amid the great challenges you face. Carrying out these ideas can give you the conviction never to give up and to progress to your best possible health, even when you feel like you’re trapped in a seemingly never-ending dungeon of pain and misery. This mindset, coupled with a knowledge of Lifestyle and Functional Medicine and pain neuroscience principles are your renewable source of hope and your greatest assets…