The official blog of the Lung Institute.
Sometimes we all need to feel a little inspired, especially when dealing with COPD symptoms.
When it comes to living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and its associated symptoms, simply getting through your day-to-day can be an increasingly difficult endeavor. As the symptoms of COPD include breathlessness, fatigue, chronic coughing and an acute build-up of phlegm, these conditions can affect you not only physically, but can have several adverse effects on your mental health as well.
For those living with a chronic lung disease such as COPD, pulmonary fibrosis or emphysema, depression and anxiety can often be a daily struggle. Though there are alternative treatment options to address COPD symptoms, life with lung disease isn’t easy. Although millions of strong-willed Americans have been able to cope and persevere through the harsh realities of COPD and COPD symptoms, at times, it can be difficult to stay motivated.
With your health in mind, the Lung Institute is here to break down COPD Symptoms and How to Deal with Them: 5 Steps for Staying Motivated.
How to Deal with COPD Symptoms
When it comes to combatting COPD symptoms, it’s important to recognize that in managing your symptoms, managing your health overall is inextricably tied. To start, the first step you can take if you haven’t done this already is to quit smoking. At the Lung Institute, we cannot stress this enough. Prolonged exposure to smoking will actively decrease your lifespan with every cigarette.
Although admittedly, smoking is an incredibly difficult habit to drop, with under 20% of people who attempt to quit finding success, it is nonetheless a crucial step in improving your health.
After quitting smoking, the next step is to address your exercise and dieting behavior. In managing your health in a general sense, proper diet and nutrition are paramount in improving your energy levels and maintaining a healthy weight. By changing your diet, it is possible to improve your blood oxygen levels and lessen the daily fatigue you experience.
In similarity, by increasing your daily exercise and improving the efficacy of your muscle-use, it’s possible to better utilize your cardiovascular system and ultimately create greater blood-oxygen circulation.
So, You’ve Got Your Goal to Cope with COPD Symptoms. Here Are 5 Steps for Staying Motivated:
5. Keep It Simple and Straight Forward
Often when it comes to setting goals for ourselves—whether it’s to lose a little weight or eat better—we often set our sights too high. We may say to ourselves, “I’m going to go to the gym five days a week starting today.” We may assure ourselves, “I’m going to drop 50lbs by July.” But more often than not, the sheer pressure of these goals can break our resolve when we inevitably fail in the initial steps.
For example, if you set a goal for going walking around the block to start getting more exercise and can only make it to the mailbox, you can easily fall into a thought-pattern where you believe the goal is hopeless and give up. Instead, refocus your mind to see the effort of getting to the mailbox itself as a small goal on your way to getting around the block.
4. Give Yourself Room to Fail and Room to Succeed
If you set a challenging goal for yourself such as to quit smoking, it’s critically important that you give yourself room to fail. This doesn’t mean room to give up; however, it does mean forgiving yourself when after a few days into quitting, you have a hard day and just need a cigarette to calm your nerves.
Although the ultimate goal is to quit and not need that cigarette, understanding that it’s okay to stumble along the way will keep you focused on your goal and spare you from getting discouraged.
3. Hold Yourself Accountable by Enlisting Others
This may seem a bit strange, but if you’ve got a goal, tell people about it. These can be your friends, your relatives, your neighbors, whoever. If that sounds like it could be uncomfortable, form a method to pitch it to people in a real and honest way. In fact, we invite you to write a short message of what your goal is and leave it in the comments below for the LI community.
If your goal is to get a little farther from where you are now, to get a little more of your quality of life back, make your intentions clear and communicate them to others. This source of outside pressure will be helpful in keeping you committed to your goals and may serve as an inspiration for others.
2. Nail Down Your “Why”
For every action you take, there is a clear purpose behind it. This is your “why.” If your goal is to quit smoking, better your diet, or exercise a bit more, nail down your “why.” Why are these goals important to you? Sure, you may want to improve your health in the general sense, but specifically, why is it important to you?
Maybe you want to be able to spend more time comfortably with your friends and family. Maybe you want to be in better health when playing with your grandkids. The key is to find out your purpose behind what you’re doing. Without a clear sense of purpose and direction, when things become challenging, it’ll be that much harder not to quit.
1. Reward Yourself
Perhaps, the most important item on this list is to reward yourself often. Although this can feel a bit too early for celebrations at times—particularly if you are still struggling or not seeing much progress—but the act of trying is a huge step in itself. It is a step you should reward yourself for whenever possible.
For example, if your goal is to lose a little weight by getting a bit more exercise, walk as far as you can down the street and walk back. Measure your progress and each time you’re able to push yourself a little farther, reward yourself with your favorite activity. Watch your favorite show, read your favorite book or eat your favorite meal.
The point is to incentive yourself for taking action and completing your goals. This continued reward system will continue to encourage you as you get closer to achieving your goal.
Staying motivated in the face of a physically and mentally exhausting condition can be difficult, but perseverance is key to any form of success. As a core condition of chronic lung disease, frequent shortness of breath can have a devastating effect on your quality of life.
However, by changing your diet, consistently exercising and quitting smoking, it’s possible to greatly affect the pronouncement of symptoms within those with COPD, pulmonary fibrosis and emphysema. When lifestyle changes fail to improve your quality of life in the way that you may expect, it may be time to consider cellular therapy.
Rather than simply addressing the symptoms of lung disease, cellular therapy may directly affect disease progression and may improve quality of life.
As in the case of Don C., cellular therapy may mean the difference between struggling to get out of bed to getting through his day-to-day activities without oxygen.
If you or a loved one suffers from a chronic lung disease like COPD, PF or ILD, the Lung Institute may be able to help with a variety of adult cellular therapy options. Contact us today at (800) 729-3065 to see if you qualify for cellular therapy, and find out what cellular therapy could mean for you.
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