The Eightfold Path: Right Action

As I’ve mentioned in my previous articles regarding the Eightfold Path of Buddhist philosophy, I am sharing these ideas with you all to help manage the uncertainty, frustration, stress and pain that IBS and other illness cause. This is not a religious or even spiritual discourse. That said, just to put it into perspective, in a religious context, The Eightfold Path’s ideas about Right Action can be related in a way to The Ten Commandments. They are the do’s and don’ts of life. For the purpose of our struggles, however, I would like to look at the do’s and don’ts of our lives with illness and specifically; do we practice what we preach?

Be honest with yourself

By preach, I don’t mean necessarily that you are constantly running around spreading the word about IBS and all the things you’ve done to conquer it. In this case, mostly I’m talking about what you tell yourself and others about the steps you’ve taken to try to control the illness. You know how New Year’s resolutions work, right? You are going to climb mountains, swim with dolphins, jump out of airplanes…but do you? Have you continually told yourself that you will do these things? Being positive and having goals, dreams and aspirations is great, don’t get me wrong, but if we are to feel good about who we are right now, as we are, it is important to be as honest with yourself as you can be. Do you really follow your IBS diet seven days a week? Have you seen your doctor as often as you should? Have you made that appointment with a therapist that you have been talking about for months? If you haven’t, it’s ok, no shame, but be honest with yourself. When you can begin being COMPLETELY honest with yourself about what you have and haven’t done to manage your illness, it will be easier to take the steps to do more. This is Right Action. Knowing the path and then walking it the best you can. The more successes you have, the more healthy things you do for yourself, the better you will feel. This is a fact.

Feelings about ability to take action

It’s not just about the actual ACTIONS either. It’s how you feel about your ability to TAKE ACTION. Guilt, shame and regret contribute significantly to our stress and anxiety and as we all know, stress, anxiety and ultimately, depression, will make us much more sick than we already are. So, what are the actions you need to take to be as healthy as you can be? If you don’t know, it might be a good idea to find out. Not knowing how to take care of yourself is like not knowing the rules in a society. You may find yourself lost, confused and making mistakes that could get you in a lot of trouble. So do a little research, find out what the RIGHT ACTION might be. Many of us know EXACTLY what we need to do to keep ourselves well (or relatively). With each action taken, each success story and every day that we feel a little better than the day before, we will find some happiness and satisfaction. With happiness and satisfaction, we find strength. I don’t think I need to say that we all need a lot of strength to handle the troubles associated with IBS. So, to ACTION people…to ACTION.

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