Where there’s disability, there’s stress. Take it from me, disabilities are exasperating. I am in a good living situation and still get so frustrated sometimes I want to scream. What do I do? I scream–among other things.
Let it out! You have to get the negative stuff out of your system without directing it toward others. I do this in a variety of ways: I scream into a pillow, place a pillow in my lap and beat the crap out of it, and weekly perform Osho’s Dynamic Meditation, a 5 part exercise designed to help release bottled up emotion. I have modified it to accommodate my disabilities; for instance, I perform the whole thing seated, restrict flailing, shorten the segment lengths and release the negative energy with whatever motion I can manage, even if it’s only clenching and releasing muscles.
SMILE!! Smiling affects your mindset. Set a timer for hourly reminders until it becomes a habit. Whenever you catch yourself frowning, even in concentration, raise and lower your brows, or smooth them with your fingertips.
Breath meditation anytime, anywhere. Waiting rooms, hospitals, buses, airplanes, cars, even your bed can be stressful places when you’re disabled. Everyone can relax using breath meditation. Meditate with your eyes open or closed, sitting in a crowd, lying in your bed, or even moving down the sidewalk if you’re careful. Start by taking a deep breath, getting air all the way into your belly, then slowly and completely empty your lungs once or twice. Then breathe normally, concentrating only on your nostrils: clean, cooling air in, warm, toxic air out. You can do from a minute to an hour or more.
If you prefer more structure to learn a technique, free guided meditations are helpful and abundant online.
Contemplation focuses your concentration. While meditation empties your mind, contemplation focuses your mind on a single point. I usually find a place to sit comfortably and start with a minute or two of breath meditation, and then focus my concentration on a single thought: a quote, phrase, or pleasant image. Something peaceful and positive. Deep contemplation removes distraction and opens your mind to creative thought.
Cut yourself a break and lighten up. If you’re like me you expect a whole lot more of yourself than others do. Get off your back! Give yourself time to accommodate your disabled pace, and communicate your needs to others! (I made a sign for my front door asking delivery personnel to give me a minimum of 4 minutes to answer after timing myself getting from the farthest point in the house to the door.)
Goals too. Keep them realistic with limitations in mind. Building emotional and physical strength is a gradual process and setbacks defeat the purpose.
Get some exercise. Even fidgeting can be done in regular sets. I do everything seated (while reading or watching movies!) and still manage to break a sweat! Start with one minute motion intervals and build. Gotta start somewhere, right?