One effective way to think positively

So, I have decided to upload something completely different today. Many people know having a positive mindset has great benefits but I have seen many who struggle to find a way to do so. Thus, in this article, I aim to share my approach to staying positive. It has been very effective for me and I hope it will also be useful for the readers. I will intentionally write in a thought provoking way to really draw out the feeling of ‘gratitude’.

We all take things for granted – it is a natural human behaviour. It is only when we lose something that we realise that what we have been ‘used to’ is not something everyone enjoys. It is when this occurrence of ‘taking things for granted’ continues that we ditch the most important element in maintaining a positive mindset – An Attitude of Gratitude.

How can we become more grateful then? For me, the sense of empathy was a great tool to utilise. It is important that you actually imagine someone else’s feelings and emotions. So, turn on your empathy sensors to the max and consider the following points:

  •   How many meals have you had today? I won’t deny it, I love food and I cannot imagine going through a day without eating. However, I feel guilty saying this because I know that millions of people today cannot even afford 1 meal a day, let alone have access to drinking water. Imagine going through every day trying your utmost to gain access to the basic necessities of life. Did those people choose to be in poverty? No.
  •   What if you were born in a country where human rights are virtually nonexistent. Many people are not aware, but even today there are some countries where the citizens have no freedom, treated as slaves and tortured for no reason. Did they have a choice which country to be born in? No.
  •   Imagine if you were living in the medieval times. With lack of advances in medicine people had no idea what to do during outbreaks of plague. People abandoned families, even their children during the Black Death. Did they have a choice when to be born? No.
  •   If you are reading this, you are one of the lucky ones who can see. So many people do not enjoy this privilege.
  •   If you are reading this, you are one of the lucky ones who have access to the internet. Again, so many people do not enjoy this privilege.
  •   If you are reading this, you are one of the lucky ones who can read. So many of us take education for granted but in some places even basic level of education is not available.

Those are just a few of the points to ponder on. There are many more but I will keep it short – hopefully that list should be enough to get my point across. I do think it is a shame that our gratitude can come from comparing ourselves to the less privileged but that’s just the way we are. We are vain, shallow and dumb because we don’t remember the most important thing unless we are constantly reminded of it – ‘Living’. Anything extra is a luxury really, isn’t it? For which we should be grateful, right?

There was a time when my life was so miserable because of the ‘limitations’ from having constant pains and chronic fatigue. I always compared myself to my friends who were healthy and enjoying their life. Then, when I started to experience Dystonia symptoms I felt so anxious about my career going downhill whilst everyone else strived to achieve their goal. However, I realised that those things making me worried were really nothing compared to what some people go through. Yes, I had Dystonia but it wasn’t life threatening. Yes, I was in pain but at least I was able to enjoy most part of my life without pain. And yes, I had strange muscle contractions and probably looked strange to other people but I still had my family and friends who supported me. It definitely was a great opportunity to reconsider the values in life and it allowed me to focus on what I was able to gain from my experience, not on what I was losing. It also made me realise that there are always two sides to a situation, positives and negatives.


Is the glass half empty or half full? If your answer was ‘empty’ why not try changing it to ‘full’? The situation may not change but we can still change the way we view things – it certainly has great effects. What is even more amazing is that it does not cost anything and it can be done right now.

Thus, let’s tone down the ‘negativeness’ and think for a moment; name each and every thing or person you should be grateful for. Imagine what your life would be like without it/him/her. Take 2 minutes before you go to sleep and list 5 things every day. You might struggle at first but once you start, the list will go on and on. Only downside, it might make you cry… lots. But, don’t be put off and keep at it! I can assure you positive thinking will become easier. I must admit, I still find it difficult to always think positively but I believe in the saying ‘practice makes perfect’ so I will definitely practice every day.

I really like this quote by Hugh Downs, an American TV broadcaster. I hope the readers would also appreciate this great quote:

“A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes.”



It has now been 3 weeks since I started the treatment and I have to admit I feel much better both physically and mentally. Reminiscing about my state 3 weeks ago, it made me realize what it would have been like if I hadn’t found this treatment. It was a sharp reminder of how grateful I should be both to my mum and Dr Lee. It also made me think about those who are suffering, probably lost and feeling helpless by lack of access to effective treatments. So in my spare time in the evening, I decided to do some online research on how other sufferers in the world endure struggles in life. In all honesty, when I was still in the UK, I only found out to the extent that not many doctors are familiar with Dystonia (therefore difficult to diagnose) and there were not many treatment options that have long lasting effects. I had not read about the life stories of the patients. It was not difficult to find various blogs uploaded by people who were hurt by surrounding people because they don’t understand what they were going through and many were neglected by those who should have the answers. Reading some of the stories actually made me cry and I couldn’t help feeling guilty thinking that I probably should have suffered longer to realize how lucky I am. I felt so vain and was ashamed of myself. Those thoughts did certainly stay for a while and I was lost in my own world.

I spent most of today meditating on those thoughts and thinking of ways to overcome it. It started off as feeling disappointed with myself and I could see it progressing into more depressing state. I concluded that feeling guilty was not going to change anything and perhaps I should put those thoughts aside. I should concentrate on receiving treatments and recovering. May be when I’m better I will be able help other people. I hope I can…


I had all the time to myself as the clinic was closed today and I decided to I walk to town after having failed to go shopping on Sunday (I was too lazy). It took half an hour to walk to town shopping mall and I managed to get my haircut which I’m very happy with. Over the past few days I have pushed myself a little and did more exercise than Dr Lee recommended. And I do feel a difference, my body feels less heavy and I can notice my concentration has improved. I also feel less depressed and I can control my moods a lot better.

What I also noticed though is that my face is very itchy and found myself scratching a lot. It felt quite strange and I was eager to find out the reason for it. Wondering if I can find it on the handout that the nurse gave me on the first day I decided to read it properly (at first I didn’t read this thoroughly because it is quite long (has 15 pages!) and lack of concentration certainly did not help). In the handout there was a list of possible deflection effects and to my surprise ‘itchiness’ was one of them. In the handout it explained that it is due to toxins, bodily waste and heavy metals being discharged from the body as the systems such as blood circulation and hormonal regulation enhance. During that process, it may temporarily cause rash on the skin, excess eye discharge, acne and itchiness. I felt relieved after finding out and spent the rest of the evening watching TV and doing FCST exercises. Tomorrow I’ll be going to the clinic for treatments but I’m quite nervous about acupuncture because it was painful last time. Hoping it won’t be.


I finally have adjusted my body clock and can sleep. For the past two days I have managed to sleep throughout the night. I slept for 12 hours today and I think I’m catching up on sleep that I haven’t had for 10 days. Unfortunately, I feel more focused I’m still physically tired but I’m hoping that once I start doing more exercises I will have more strength.

Today is a busy day at the clinic as it is a Saturday and all the patients who have a full time job tend to come on Saturdays to receive at least two treatments. It is usually the busiest in the morning so I went in the afternoon instead. It was the first time ever for me to manage a CBA fitting without having deflections within 2 minutes. I managed to wear the device for upto 10 minutes today and I think this is a good sign. However, for some reason when I had acupuncture, my back was in severe pain and it was almost impossible to relax throughout the 10 minutes. I nearly had to ask the nurse to take the needles out. I really hope it doesn’t hurt next time.

On a positive note, I think I’m ready to go shopping tomorrow – it is getting quite chilly here and I need some winter clothes. I saw on the website that the shopping mall in town has hairdressers so I might also get my hair cut!


I finally managed to get some sleep! For 7 hours I slept during the night but for strange reason I felt more worn out and found myself yawning every few minutes. So I went to the clinic first thing in the morning instead of doing exercise beforehand. Once again, my jaw would not stop trembling while I was having CBA fitted so it was really difficult. I had deflections about 3 times today; it really does not seem good. I am wondering whether the treatment is actually effective? No one else in the clinic seem to have trembling jaw when they are having the treatment while I can’t even bite properly without a mirror. It is strange though, whilst these thoughts are going through my head I am a lot calmer and less irritated… I often had uncontrollable heart thumps throughout the day but it seems less frequent. I hope this is a good sign.

I could only manage 30 minutes of walking today. I think I’m getting more comfortable though with walking outside with OBA on. I don’t really care if people look at me strangely; they have no idea what it is like to have Dystonia and if having a mouthpiece will make things better I could not care less if I look like a gorilla.


I officially have insomnia – I could not get any sleep whatsoever and I am physically and mentally drained. So I made a big plan, to tire myself out completely and not have a nap during the day which should knock me out by the night. After having breakfast, I decided to go out for a walk before going to the clinic. When I walked out of the flat my eyes were almost closed and my body felt so heavy. But fortunately the air outside was fresh and cold which helped me to exercise with a bit more energy.

After an hour, I went to the clinic for 11 o’clock treatment. I felt very refreshed entering the treatment room, a feeling that I have never had on other days. I was excited that treatment today was going to go very well. BUT what happens? I get 5 deflections within a space of an hour… Yes, 5 CBA fittings… and I just can’t seem to control my muscles around the jaw so it is impossible to have a CBA made without looking at the mirror. Although I was quite disappointed, I tried to keep myself occupied with positive thoughts and control my moods. I still went ahead with the plan and I went out for another walk after lunch. Now, I am exhausted and I think it is time to go to bed. Fingers crossed I will get some sleep.


I managed to get up quite early in the morning after sleeping for a few hours although I was still quite exhausted. When I woke up though my teeth were hurting extremely and noticed that a gap has been made on my lower teeth. Hopefully this is a good sign, perhaps my teeth are settling into place in the shape it needs to be. I went for the treatment in the morning and unfortunately deflection occurred just 2 minutes after CBA fitting so I had to get another one made. However, I’m going to take it as being one step closer to recovery and forget about it. I noticed that I have got mentally stronger which helped me to think positively throughout the day. I was more lively and stable although I still had these nagging thoughts at the back of my mind questioning whether I should put 100% faith in the treatment.


The clinic is closed on Sundays so I had the whole day to myself. I thought I would do a bit of exercising and relax but in all honesty I spent most of the day worrying and thinking that not receiving treatments might make things worse. I did manage to do a bit of walking outside but when I returned home I noticed the muscle spasm worsened. I do think being anxious was part of the reason and by the evening it got to a point where I found it difficult to bite and keep the OBA in place. I started to worry even more and once again it made me doubt whether this treatment was going to work on me.


Once again, I found it very difficult to get to sleep during the night. I must have fallen asleep at about 5 a.m. and could not wake up until midday so I went to the clinic in the afternoon. Despite sleeping for a few hours I was physically very worn out and mentally unmotivated. I struggled to keep my eyes open and felt so drowsy. Treatment went quite well, I had no visible spasms (although the sensation was still there) and I was less anxious. Afterwards, I decided to do some walking but because I was so tired I often had to slow down. I was still worried that people would look at me strangely and could not overcome self-consciousness. I still managed to stay out walking for an hour and a half though which was quite helpful because when I got home, I felt more lively and refreshed. At home, I decided to try more full body exercise sets (as recommended by Dr Lee) but after doing a few I was ready to go to bed. Hoping I can get normal sleeping pattern by tomorrow.