5 Ways a Positive Attitude Helps the Sick
Numerous studies over the past 30 years have found solid connections between a positive outlook and better recovery rates. One recent study found that patients who went into surgery with a positive attitude recovered better than those who went under the knife with a pessimistic attitude or a heightened sense of fear.
It's Not Easy
But when you're faced with illness, keeping a positive attitude may seem impossible. It's ridiculous to try to force your brain to think positive thoughts when you're struggling with illness-related depression, sadness, guilt, anger, and fear, which are all normal emotions. In fact, telling yourself to think positively can cause even more stress and guilt when you find it's not really working.
But there are a number of ways you can improve your outlook without putting pressure on yourself to "look at the bright side" and "keep your chin up." These strategies will help improve your overall outlook, make you feel healthier and give you more energy as you heal.
5 Ways to Nurture a Positive Attitude When You're Sick
- Every day, find some time to sit in a comfortable, peaceful place. Close your eyes and breathe slowly and deeply. Acknowledge thoughts as they enter your brain, but let them pass by without dwelling on them, like a leaf floating past on its way downstream. The more you meditate, the easier it will be to clear your brain of clutter.
- Focus on the positive. Every day, write a list of things you're grateful for. This simple exercise helps train your brain to think positively, especially when you're feeling particularly negative.
- Surround yourself with positive energy during your illness. Let your friends and family know that you only want visitors who bring a calm, nurturing energy into your room instead of drama and negativity.
- Keep your surroundings clean, inviting, and bright. Surround yourself with things that make you happy and which trigger good memories or calm feelings.
- Bathe every day whenever possible, and put on clean clothes that make you feel good. Shave and brush your teeth and hair. Looking your best even when you're sick makes you feel a little better in general, and that can go a long way toward actual healing.