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Only People With Autoimmune Diseases Can Relate to These 5 Things

Only People With Autoimmune Diseases Can Relate to These 5 Things

According to the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, at least 50 million Americans alone suffer from a range of illnesses where their own immune system attacks healthy cells within their body. Medical professionals are just beginning to understand the scope and effects of each subcategory. There are as many as 80 types, with some common ones being lupus, multiple sclerosis (MS), rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel diseases and type 1 diabetes. For decades, celebrities have been shedding light on their own struggles with these illnesses in hopes of bringing more attention to finding a cure — from Lady Gaga who suffers from lupus to Jack Osbourne, who has been diagnosed with MS.

Read on for a few misconceptions about autoimmune diseases that need to be cleared up.

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They are not allergic reactions

It is incorrect to classify autoimmune diseases such as celiac disease simply as allergies. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder where the consumption of gluten leads to serious damage throughout the small intestine. Having a gluten-sensitivity is a common allergy, but being diagnosed with celiac disease is a lot more complicated. One of the biggest differences is that with celiac the smallest trace of gluten can send your body into an severe autoimmune response that can lead to nutritional deficiencies, intestinal damage and even being at risk for certain types of gastrointestinal cancers.

They can take years to diagnose

Autoimmune diseases are difficult to diagnose because in most cases there is not a singular test that will determine a diagnosis. Often times, there are a lot of incorrect diagnoses before a patient is finally told that they do in fact have an autoimmune disease. Another reason it takes so long to properly diagnose these diseases is that depending on the illness, some symptoms may come and go. Variance in diet and lifestyle factors (including stress) can also greatly influence an individual who is suffering from an autoimmune disease.

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They do not include chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia

These two illness should not be confused as being autoimmune diseases, even through they share many similar symptoms. Medical professionals understand even less about these two, but realize it is possible for individuals suffering from either illness to also have associated autoimmune illnesses. Some similar symptoms can include constant fatigue, muscle pain and constant headaches.

They can be reversed

Contrary to popular belief, some autoimmune diseases can be cured with the proper diet and lifestyle changes. It is true that autoimmune diseases are genetic, but they need an environmental factor or a change in lifestyle to trigger that gene to react. One of the biggest healing factors is focusing on intestinal health, since that is where 80 percent of the immune system cells are. Focusing on healing the gut with probiotics, finding ways to cope with stress and eating a well-balanced diet that contains as few toxins as possible are all ways that can help reverse some autoimmune diseases.

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They can only be treated with conventional medicine

One of the biggest misconceptions about autoimmune diseases is that only pills will help with the symptoms. The problem with taking prescribed medication is that there can be major side effects that result — for example, using chemotherapy drugs to treat lupus. While some pills are necessary to treat certain autoimmune diseases, other natural alternatives are worth looking into. Certain restrictive diets like the Whole30, which eliminates any sugar, alcohol, grains and legumes from the diet for a month is one way to see how drastically altering your diet can help reverse an autoimmune disease without any negative side effects.

The role of Eastern medicine, like acupuncture or Chinese herbs, can also be worth trying out to see if it has a positive effect on the illnesses.

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Featured photo credit: Flickr via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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