Staying Positive: Can Positivity Improve Treatment Outcomes?
Positive thinking can have a significant impact on a person’s physical and mental health and overall quality of life. An optimistic attitude is an act of approaching a situation, be it good or bad, with the expectation that things will go well. But can positivity impact treatment outcomes? More and more studies suggest- yes. Studies have shown that a positive attitude can improve treatment outcomes and overall life satisfaction.
The Benefits of Positive Thinking
Positive thinking can impact the body and the mind. Some physical benefits may include: a longer life span, improved physical health, greater resistance to illness like the common cold, lower blood pressure, better stress management, and better pain tolerance. Some mental benefits may include more creativity, improved problem-solving skills, clearer thinking, better mood, better coping skills, and less depression. One explanation for these benefits may be that people who are more positive may be better protected against the inflammatory damage of stress. Additionally, people with a positive outlook tend to focus more on long-term goals, which in turn can help make better health-related life decisions.
The Cost of Negative Thinking
Equally important as being positive, is avoiding negative thoughts. Negative thoughts may be thoughts that make you feel like a failure, make you feel disappointed, criticize your actions, cause you to feel spite or self-condemnation, make you feel limited, or pertain to you getting sick or having something bad happen. Negative thoughts may manifest the most if you do the following: Predict a disastrous outcome– this means you expect the worst to happen and play those thoughts out in your mind. Take the blame– this means you take on feelings of blame when something disappointing happens. For example, if something doesn’t play out the way you wanted or expected, then you blame yourself for that happening. Use a “bad filter”– this means you overlook the positive aspects of a situation and only focus on the negative, like a lens that focuses on the bad things and overlooks the good things. When you notice a negative thought, stop and shift your focus to something positive. Try navigating your thinking to find a different way of looking at the situation. Negative thoughts will not go away, but with practice, you can give yourself more moments of positive thinking in a day, and with time, that can add up in big ways. Negative emotions and feelings can weaken the immune system and the ability to fight against common illnesses like the flu or a cold.
Can positivity help improve treatment outcomes?
When someone is diagnosed with a chronic illness, fear of the unknown can be alarming and distressing. Having hope and a positive view of the future can help alleviate stress and anxiety by giving patients a sense of control over the situation, their health, and their future. Because positivity can reduce feelings of stress, lessen symptoms of depression, and give more hope for the future, some studies have shown significant improvements in treatment outcome. Positivity can help patients view their illness as more manageable and their treatment goals as more achievable. Patients who view their illness and treatment plan with positivity have fewer side effects and are less likely to be distressed. Patients with a more positive attitude are also more likely to stick with a treatment plan and experience better outcomes.
How to Stay Positive
What do you do when you have a negative thought? Try not to hold on to negative thoughts or feelings. If you feel frustrated or angry, try moving on from those feelings and focus on the positive side of the situation. For example, don’t become frustrated with something you can’t do, instead focus on the things you can do.
Additional tips to help you stay positive:
- Smile more – Just the action of smiling can make you feel more positive. But, you can increase the amount you smile in a day by looking for humor in things and spending time with those who make you laugh.
- Reframe a situation – If something upsets you and you feel like something bad is out of your control, try to appreciate the good parts of the situation.
- Supportive people – Spending time with supportive friends and family can work wonders on your sense of positive outlook and appreciation.
- Meditate – Reducing stress can help you stay positive and regular medication practice can reduce your stress and calm your mind. This is also a time to focus on positive thoughts and tailor your thinking and daily intentions.
- Practice self-care – Take care of yourself, and your health will benefit. Self-care includes eating a healthy diet, getting regular physical exercise, and listening to your body for what it needs.
- Focus on your strengths – Appreciating the things you are good at can boost happiness and lessen symptoms of depression. Give yourself value and acknowledge your worth- this can add up over time and empower your sense of self.
- Get plenty of sleep – Sleep can be very important to overall health, especially when managing a health condition. Create a routine for yourself that sets your body to relax and get at least 8 hours of proper sleep each night.
- Spend time doing things you love – Your mind will flourish when it is doing things it loves, which can lead to a happier, healthier body. If you enjoy dancing, hiking, painting, or fishing, then make those activities a priority to experience and practice regularly.
PFSP Specialty Pharmacy provides patients and their physicians an exceptionally high standard of care with our growing team of specialized pharmacists and staff. Our dedicated team of pharmacists focus on improving adherence for patients and work to find an approach that works best for them. Bringing a fresh take on what a Specialty Pharmacy can and should be, we are committed to the care of our patients. We take pride in being an ethical resource within our community and strive each day to help our patients live enriching and full lives.