The beginning of the year always presents an opportunity to reflect on your current self-image and how you want to grow and improve. Interestingly, a previous post entitled ‘Can You Change How You See Yourself?’ discussed how it is possible to change the set of beliefs you have about yourself, a concept called ‘self-schema.’ Citing the findings of a study comparing the self-schemas of ‘exercisers’ and ‘non-exercisers,’ the article concludes that by taking behavioral steps in your chosen direction, you can begin seeing yourself differently.
When chronic illness changes how you see yourself
For people with autoimmune disease, the effects of the condition(s) on your life can negatively alter your self-schema. It’s very possible, though, that you haven’t thoroughly examined how these changes have impacted your beliefs about what you can do. But with some mental reframing, you can start to better cope with the changes brought about by your illness and improve your quality of life.
However, before you can tap into your strengths, it helps to build self-awareness about your capabilities and what you can improve. Here are some useful digital tools to improve your self-awareness skills and achieve your personal goals:
Apple Journal for writing
Journaling is one of the tried-and-tested ways of getting to know yourself better not only in terms of articulating your thoughts and emotions but also in creating a blueprint for actionable goals and positive behaviors. Since some autoimmune diseases may cause muscular weakness and affect the motor skills involved in writing, you can instead rely on journaling apps like Apple’s Journal to reflect on and process your thoughts as they come. This digital journal is integrated into your smartphone, which means you can connect with your inner self anytime and anywhere while also keeping your entries private by locking them with a passcode or Face ID.
Everand for electronic books
Besides mirroring your thoughts and feelings through a journal, you can also set aside time to read and increase your understanding of others and the world around you. By getting to know other perspectives beyond your own, you can cultivate emotional intelligence and make well-informed decisions. In this light, the digital library Everand makes books on personal growth and self-improvement more accessible through affordable subscription plans, offline reading features, and curated lists from other readers. Its wide range of resources also includes top-rated works like the ebook The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown, which teaches you how to go beyond self-imposed expectations and instead live authentically and meaningfully.
Branch Health for behavioral support
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which posits that how we think can influence our emotions and behaviors, has demonstrated effectiveness in improving quality of life measures among adults and children. For individuals with autoimmune disease, in particular, CBT has the potential to help them better manage their conditions and cope with the symptoms that manifest in daily life. In this light, pain management app Branch Health not only provides people with chronic pain conditions a wide range of ways to track their symptoms and treatment plans, but it is also integrated with CBT techniques to empower users and make them more aware of cognitive-affective processes. The app also has a reward system for achieving goals and supporting others in the community to further encourage healthy, self-affirming behaviors.
Headspace for mindfulness and meditation
Lastly, meditation can help unlock self-awareness since you become more present with your thoughts and feelings that arise throughout the session. Additionally, mindfulness can benefit your mental health, which is especially crucial as a Health.com article reports over half of individuals with autoimmune diseases experience symptoms like anxiety and depression due to the complex interplay between the immune system and neurotransmitters. While you can meditate through exercises like yoga, the mindfulness app Headspace has guided meditation sessions with specific prompts focusing on self-awareness, compassion, and emotional regulation.
As you consider these digital tools, remember to monitor your progress and identify which resource works best for you, your daily routine, and your overall goals for personal growth.