Dr. Larry Berkelhammer

Dr. Larry Berkelhammer

This question & answer column is for people living with chronic health challenges and their family caregivers, who want to learn to increase the odds of improving their health by learning to live with mastery & wellbeing.
I invite you to post your questions in the comments box below. When I get a certain number of related questions, I pick one that covers them all and I answer that one.
I post to this blog three times per week. Monday posts are relevant published articles. Wednesday posts are interviews—mostly video. Friday posts consist of questions about living better with chronic health challenges, and my answers to them.
Here is this week’s question:

Whenever I give a seminar or webinar, someone always questions me about my recommendation to practice acceptance for our chronic medical conditions.

ANSWER: Getting angry, frustrated, or sad about a situation we can’t change only leads to additional misery.  The acceptance I recommend in no way includes giving up the fight.  What it means is accepting the diagnosis, but it does not mean accepting a negative prognosis.

In my own life, I often think of people who have had to fight for survival against a mountain lion, bear, great white shark, or any insurmountable odds. Cancer and many chronic illnesses can seem to have equally insurmountable odds.

Yet, there is something very empowering about never giving up the fight.  Fighting may seem orthogonal to acceptance.  But, in my own case, I can’t deny the reality of my health problems, so I accept them.

But at the same time, I do everything in my power to take care of myself. Despite that, I often don’t feel well.  However,  I live with a sense of mastery and wellbeing because I exercise my power to do whatever is in my control. I accept what I can’t control but I fight for my life when there’s a possibility that my efforts could possibly make a difference. This is what is meant by living with mastery.

This website is offered as a free public service, supplying information that has been found helpful to certain people living with chronic health challenges. No treatment is offered on this website. The advice is general, and may or may not apply to your individual situation, and is not a substitute for psychotherapy or medical treatment.
What questions do you have about how to live better with chronic health challenges that are related to the relationship between states of mind and health?
Just scroll down and type your question in the comment box. I will post a reply to your comment, but your question may not appear in this column.