The official blog of the Lung Institute.
Power of Positive Thinking
When living with a condition like COPD, maintaining a positive attitude can be difficult. It’s normal to feel frustrated, worried, or afraid. These difficult-to-process emotions often accompany chronic health conditions and can leave people feeling overwhelmed. Practicing techniques to stay optimistic can help you achieve and maintain a positive attitude. To those who practice it, the power of positive thinking can bring health benefits.
Practice, Practice, Practice.
Though it takes time, the process of becoming a more positive thinker is simple. One way you can become more optimistic is to “identify areas of your life that you typically think negatively about.” Nobody is perfect, so taking note of negative areas can help you address them in a more positive way.
You can also check in with yourself throughout the day. Stop and evaluate what you’re thinking and how you feel about it. If your thoughts are negative, find a positive spin.
Try laughing. When you laugh, your brain releases increased endorphins and dopamine. You will have an increased relaxation response, and laughing reduces pain and stress. Even when you feel down, it’s good to smile and laugh.
Exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet and learning stress management techniques can help you keep a positive mood and reduce stress, giving your body and mind needed fuel.
Surround yourself with positive, dependable people. These people can support you and help you during your times of need.
Practice positive self-talk, use positive affirmations, be gentle and encourage yourself daily. If a negative thought comes into your mind, evaluate it and respond with positive affirmations.
A University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine study showed that people surveyed who keep a positive attitude could live longer. The data from the study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health, showed that optimistic women were 30 percent less likely to die from heart disease than pessimists.
When difficult life situations happen, you’ll be able to cope better. Optimistic can help you combat depression and anxiety. People with positive attitudes recover faster from surgery and cope better with serious diseases.
Positive thinking may even help you fight off colds and other illnesses. According to a 2003 study reported by The New York Times, researchers at the University of Wisconsin are reported that the activation of brain regions associated with negative emotions appears to weaken people’s immune response to a flu vaccine. These findings could show that people who are more optimistic have better functioning immune cells overall.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s good to take time for yourself. Do something you enjoy, such as gardening, reading, or spending time with people you love. It’s also good to take care of your emotional health, so try meeting with a professional mental health provider to talk about what’s on your mind and learn coping strategies. Your doctor is another good ally and can help you on your journey to healing.