Monday, October 27, 2014

Is it Really Important to Have a Positive Attitude When Dealing With a Chronic Condition?

One of the last things someone with a chronic illness or chronic pain wants to hear is that they should think more positively. After all, it’s hard to have a positive attitude when you are in terrible pain or feel horrible and it may feel like some of the blame for how you feel is being placed on you when told this. However, studies have shown that having a positive attitude can help people with chronic illness/pain both mentally and physically. It makes sense, right? We know that chronic stress, anger and other negative emotions can have a detrimental impact on our health and lead to problems with brain and cardiac function. We know that it can lead to wear and tear of our bodies.

That said, it is unrealistic to expect people dealing with chronic pain or a chronic illness to have a positive attitude all of the time. It’s just not possible. In fact, being cheerful all of the time when dealing with a chronic condition can sometimes be linked to denial of the illness, which can lead to negative psychological consequences.

In my personal and professional experience, I’ve found that most people suffering from chronic pain and chronic illness want acknowledgement that what they are going through is real and that it is okay not to be okay sometimes. Pressure to be optimistic all of the time can lead to increased negative emotions. By allowing sufferers of chronic conditions to experience the uncertainty and frustrations that come along with having a chronic illness or chronic pain, family, friends and loved ones are actually making way for more positive feelings because not only can the patient express their feelings during difficult times rather than holding it in, the pressure to be optimistic all of the time is gone.

It is important for people with chronic conditions to find a good balance in their lives. It is also important for them to focus on what they have control over (diet, exercise, taking their medications, who is in charge of their treatment), rather than what they don’t (disease progression). Feeling in control leads to more positive emotions.

So, is it really important to have a positive attitude when dealing with a chronic condition? Yes. But it is also important to be able to feel and express the anger, frustration and uncertainty as well.

7 comments:

  1. THANK YOU!!!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes for the most part I'm positive but there are some days when I just want to express how I feel.....like I don't want this and why me? Thank you for this article.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Balence is key. It is not up to others who do not have chronic pain, to decide if one is being positive at the right time. I feel the best when I am validated

    ReplyDelete
  4. I believe that! But reality is if you cant express your true feelings then you truly dont feel validated and thats important! ...some days its just too much!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm so glad this article has finally been published! It is so spot on. I studied psych and this is exactly my position. It is really unfair that people don't allow us time to be honest and realist about our position. I think it's more about them finding it hard to hear than thinking about what our emotional position is.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Can who ever wrote this article contact me? I'm want to create a really modern and up to date, realist webpage on what the needs of people in chronic pain are. Lauren.arcus@gmail.com x

    ReplyDelete
  7. Suffering from a long term disease and can't find a real solution for the disease by using pills or medicines just try some Home Remedies for that disease. Home remedies are the best way to get rid of any disease. Because home remedies have no side effects and you can take them regularly and treat the disease permanently.

    ReplyDelete