The official blog of the Lung Institute.
Learning How to Boost Your Self-Confidence
When it comes to living with a chronic lung disease like COPD or pulmonary fibrosis, most people think of the typical symptoms and side effects of the debilitating conditions: wheezing, shortness of breath, coughing and fatigue. What most people don’t think about is the psychological side effects that often accompany such a diagnosis. For some sufferers, this can mean living with anxiety and panic attacks. For others, it could be depression and general sadness. These mental health conditions can have a huge impact on your ability to get out and about. In some cases, it results in individuals feeling confined to their home.
The Mental Effects of Lung Disease
Living with a chronic lung disease often requires that individuals make significant lifestyle modifications. It is impossible to lump all sufferers into one category and say, “hey, you will feel this.” Each person will have his or her own individual experience. While some may easily be able to adapt to change, others may find the experience devastating. The consequences are often far-reaching and can change from day to day. This ultimately influences a sufferer’s overall outlook on life.
Accord to a recent study completed at Edge Hill University, possible psychological effects of lung disease include stress and anxiety, depression, fear of dying and exacerbation, panic, altered body image, loss of control and autonomy, unwanted lifestyle changes, altered role in the family dynamic, sense of worthlessness, denial, anger, loss of dignity, alternation of relationships, frustrations, guilt, loss of intimacy, irritability and impatience. These effects can either come directly from the condition itself or from the resulting lifestyle modifications required with a chronic lung condition.
The Example of Supplemental Oxygen
One such example is the need for supplemental oxygen that many chronic lung disease sufferers must endure. When people are first prescribed supplemental oxygen, they are often bitter and annoyed. The idea of having to drag a tank around everywhere is terrifying. It is just an additional hindrance in your life. Oftentimes, people feel self-conscious about strapping a backpack of oxygen on or toting a cart around. This can further impact someone’s self-perception, thus further degrading one’s self-esteem.
Ten Ways to Boost Your Self-Confidence and Improve your Self-Esteem
Low self-confidence is a major contributor to depression because it can hamper your ability to accomplish goals and maintain an active social life. Here are a few small lifestyle modifications that can work to boost your confidence:
- Smile: It may sound obvious, but smiling during a stressful situation actually triggers your brain to feel more relaxed.
- Do a Random Act of Kindness: Brightening someone else’s day can brighten your day. Try to give back to foster high feelings of self-worth.
- Dress to Feel Beautiful: While this may sound shallow, by dressing for how you want to feel, you can actually bolster your confidence. It’s natural to walk taller when you feel beautiful. Wear what makes you feel flawless.
- Try Something New: Personal achievement and accomplishments can promote self-confidence. By taking a class or learning something new from a friend, you can feel accomplished.
- Get Moving: Even light exercise can have serious mood-altering effects. Exercise of any kind triggers endorphins, which naturally improve your happiness levels.
- Simply Stand Straight: Seems easy enough, right? Good posture is the quickest way to feeling in control. By refraining from slouching, you can improve your breathing and lower your stress.
- Eat Right: We’ve all heard that you are what you eat, but it’s true that food has a strong impact on how we feel. Healthy foods are better for your body, which in turn is better for your mind.
- Care Less: Stop worrying too much about what others think. Assuming that others are focusing on your flaws will lock your own focus on what you imagine your flaws to be.
- Get Organized: Set small weekly organization goals such as cleaning out your purse or sorting through your mail. Managing just one small piece of your life can have a huge impact on how you feel.
- Remind Yourself: Following in the footsteps of Operation Beautiful, create an inspiration mirror. By hanging quotes and phrases that make you feel beautiful on your mirror, you can replace any negative thoughts with positive ones the moment you wake up.
Creating an Inspiration Mirror
Self-confidence, not surprisingly, begins with you. Find a few quotes and sentiments that speak to you and make you feel good. Grab some post-it notes and get them up on that mirror. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Smile! You are beautiful!
- You are a sprinkle cupcake in a world full of muffins.
- For every minute you are angry, you lose 60 seconds of happiness. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
- No one can ever make you feel inferior without your consent. – Eleanor Roosevelt
- You are perfect exactly as you are.
- Stop hating yourself for everything you are not. Start loving yourself for everything that you are.
- Be yourself because an original is worth more than a copy.
- Everything you want is on the other side of fear.
- You were given this life because you are strong enough to live it.
- Faith is the art of holding on to things in spite of your changing moods and circumstances. – C.S. Lewis
If you or a loved one is living with a chronic lung disease, you have more options than you realize. Stem cell therapy may be able to help. For more information, contact the Lung Institute at (800) 729-3065.