Being diagnosed with a severe illness with no cure can be devastating news to even the most optimistic individual. How would you cope? There are an estimated 24 million adults in the United States who suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) for which this is the reality.
While many people think of the typical physical symptoms of chronic lung disease: wheezing, shortness of breath, coughing and fatigue. The psychological side effects and stress that often accompany such a diagnosis, which can include anxiety, panic attacks, depression and low self-esteem should not be overlooked.
Living with COPD often requires individuals to make significant lifestyle modifications. A recent study found that the possible psychological effects of lung disease include:
- stress and anxiety
- fear of dying
- altered body image
- loss of control and autonomy
- unwanted lifestyle changes
- an altered role in the family dynamic
- sense of worthlessness
- loss of intimacy
These effects can either come directly from the condition itself or the resulting lifestyle modifications required with a chronic lung condition.
The Power of Thinking Positively
Positive thinking is essential to better physical and mental well-being. Positive thinking means approaching unpleasant situations in a productive way. It doesn’t mean that you have to be unrealistically upbeat in every case, but it is important to be able to find your silver lining or your positive spin.
There will be occasions when you will feel down and disappointed, and that is okay. You should feel those emotions and not feel guilty about that. The key is to work through it and then moving on to more positive, self-affirming thoughts.
Positive thinking goes beyond saying two good things to each one bad thing you say about yourself. The power of positivity lies in seeing the opportunity. Studies have shown that positive thinking actually helps see more possibilities. Experiencing positive emotions like joy, contentment and love can help open up the brain to a wider sense of possibilities and open the mind to more options.
Changing your Mind: Five Ways to Stay Positive
- Get in the Zone: Practitioners of meditation experience more positive emotions than people who do not meditate.
- Put it on Paper: One of the many health benefits to journaling is increased positivity when writing about intensely positive experiences. Journaling offers the advantage of getting to experience positive emotions three times: the first time when you live it, the second time when you write it and the third time when you read it.
- Find Your Support: Keep an active social life by finding people who may know about what you’re going through. Share tips, tricks and experiences so that you can share the joys together as a group.
- Pause to Play: Take the time to do what you enjoy. Though it may be difficult, finding the time to play keeps the mind young and positive.
- Plan for Possibilities: Make a habit of planning for the future. When you have something to look forward to, you have more to stay positive about in your life. Positive thinking will also open you up to new possibilities. Be ready for the chance to seize those opportunities.
Staying positive is important, but medical advancements like cellular restoration therapy can help you breathe easier and be in a better state of health to think positively.
If you or a loved one is suffering from a chronic lung disease like COPD or interstitial lung disease, contact the Lung Health Institute to learn if lung restoration treatment could help you breathe easier today.