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What parts of treatment are you doing RIGHT?

Anyone with a chronic health issue like migraine disease is, more than likely, barraged with advice both good and bad.  The advisors almost always dish out tips and tricks from a genuinely good, encouraging place, but it can sometimes be hard to let the do-gooders know that yes, you tried that already and no, you hadn’t ever thought of this, and yeah, maybe you will look into whatever possibly-good, possibly-kooky treatment plan he just advised.

And then there’s advice given by experts and healthcare providers.  Engage in regular, mild exercise. Stay hydrated. Establish reliable sleeping patterns. Avoid food and drink that triggers your migraine episodes. Take this pill every morning. Keep a headache diary. Don’t overdo it on the caffeine. And on and on.

When I’m on the upswing and am practicing very good self-care, I’m flabbergasted that people don’t just do simple things that could make themselves feel better. But when I’m feeling low and/or busy with my non-migraine life, it’s easy to slip into old patterns and ignore all those tips and tricks that would probably make me feel a lot better.

I get into the habit of being down on myself for not doing all that I could do to be my healthiest.  I still dine out a lot and eat foods that aren’t necessarily good for my migraine brain.  Once a month or so I get a wild hair and drink some alcohol; this almost always ends up giving me a hangover-style migraine the next morning.  I skip my exercising for embarrassing lengths of time, and I forget to take my daily medications for days in a row sometimes.

And I’m really hard on myself about it.  I feel stupid and irresponsible.  Couldn’t you argue that I don’t deserve a break from these migraines since I’m doing so little to keep them out of my life?

It’s pretty obvious that negativity and harsh self-criticism aren’t good for stress levels or chronic health problems.

So I’m taking a different tack. I’m trying to be more positive by applauding myself for what I am doing right instead of making long lists in my head of all the things I am doing wrong.

Won’t you join me?  What are you doing RIGHT?  Why not take out a piece of paper or your journal and write down the things that you are proud of in regards to your migraine disease? I just did it and it made me feel a whole lot better about the fact that I have been forgetting to take my medication the last few days! 😉 If I focus only on the negative, I feel as if I’m trying to dig myself out of a hole, and that never feels very empowering.  So, for today at least, I will be focusing on what I’m doing WELL.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • tucker
    6 years ago

    When my kids were little, we had a “thankful journal”. Every now and then, I do that just to cheer myself up but as with writing goes – either I’m getting something off my chest so it’s easy or I’m doing the migraine diary (which has been a lot more off than on after all these years) or I don’t stick with the good stuff. But when I look back after I fill up a that little notebook before I put it away and see those happy days, it does make me feel good that there are always good days in my life and I’m aware of them and thankful for them.

    LOL, I also had a few days of “what I did right today/what I am good at” several months ago when I had dropped out of my exercise class (with 2 month left on my contract), was being a grouch at work, was sleeping all day and night at home and never cooking dinner b/c I was so exhausted, the list goes on. I did find some things “right” about me and I felt a whole lot better about myself!

  • Ellen Schnakenberg
    6 years ago

    tucker – like you, our family kept gratitude journals. I haven’t kept one in a few months, and the last few months have been really difficult for me. Maybe I need to get that pretty purple journal back out and start remembering the things I have each day to be thankful for! Thank you for reminding me of a routine that really did make a big difference in my life for a long time <3


  • merrie
    6 years ago

    I was able to eat today without getting sick (which is probably pure luck) and enjoy a day spent outside for the first time in months.

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