Monthly Archives: August 2011

My Brother Gary Is Gettng Worse

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He is getting, so sick,so fast. When, my Family, came to  stay, he looked so sick.   He, has brutal JHD. He, has been sick, since he  was 20. He is now, 26. I have, said so many prayers, to cure him, like I am always worried, for my Brother, He, did not handle the news, like I did. I still, wish I was, the only one who got it.

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Mental Health Problems and Mind-Body Wellness – Positive Thinking

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Mental Health Problems and Mind-Body Wellness – Positive Thinking

 

 

People with positive attitudes generally enjoy life more, but are they any healthier? The answer is often “yes.” Optimism is a resource for healing. Optimists are more likely to overcome pain and adversity in their efforts to improve their medical treatment outcomes. For example, optimistic coronary bypass patients generally recover more quickly and have fewer complications after surgery than do patients who are less hopeful.1, 2

Your body responds to your thoughts, emotions, and actions. In addition to staying fit, eating right, and managing stress, you can use the following three strategies to help maintain your health:

 

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Read the Got a Problem? Try Sleeping on It article > >

 
 

1. Create positive expectations for health and healing.

Mental and emotional expectations can influence medical outcomes. How well any medical treatment works depends in part on how useful you expect it to be. The “placebo effect” proves this. A placebo is a drug or treatment that provides no medical benefit except for the patient’s belief that it will help. Many patients who receive placebos report satisfactory relief from their medical problem, even though they received no actual medicine.

Changing your expectations from negative to positive may enhance your physical health. Here’s how to make the change:

  • Stop all negative self-talk. Make positive statements that promote your recovery.
  • Send yourself a steady stream of affirmations. An affirmation is a phrase or sentence that sends strong, positive statements to you about yourself, such as “I am a capable person” or “My joints are strong and flexible.”
  • Visualize health and healing. Add mental pictures that support your positive affirmations.
  • Don’t feel guilty. There is no value in feeling guilty about health problems. While there is a lot you can do to reduce your risk for health problems and improve your chances of recovery, some illnesses may develop and persist no matter what you do. Some things just are. Do the best you can.

2. Open yourself to humor, friendship, and love.

Positive emotions boost your health. Fortunately, almost anything that makes you feel good about yourself helps you stay healthy.

  • Laugh. A little humor makes life richer and healthier. Laughter increases creativity, reduces pain, and speeds healing. Keep an emergency laughter kit that contains funny movies, jokes, cartoons, and photographs. Put it with your first-aid supplies and keep it well stocked.
  • Seek out friends. Friendships are vital to good health. Close social ties help you recover more quickly from illness and reduce your risk for diseases ranging from arthritis to depression.
  • Volunteer. People who volunteer live longer and enjoy life more than those who do not volunteer. By helping others, we help ourselves.
  • Plant a plant and pet a pet. Plants and pets can be highly therapeutic. When you stroke an animal, your blood pressure goes down and your heart rate slows. Animals and plants help us feel needed.

3. Appeal to a higher power.

If you believe in a higher power, ask for support in your pursuit of healing and health. Faith, prayer, and spiritual beliefs can play an important role in recovering from an illness. See healing touch and prayer.

Your sense of spiritual wellness can help you overcome personal trials and things you cannot change. If it suits you, use spiritual images in visualizations, affirmations, and expectations about your health and your life.

 

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

 
Last Updated: April 12, 2010
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
© 1995-2011 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

WebMD Home Mental Health Center Depression Health Center

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Depression Health Center

 
 

 

 
 
 
Step 1 of 6

Action Set
Depression: Using Positive Thinking

Depression is an illness that makes a person feel sad and hopeless much of the time. It’s different than feeling a little sad or down. Depression can be treated with counseling or medicine, or both.

Positive thinking also can help prevent or control depression.

Key points

  • If you have thoughts of harming yourself or others, you need to see your doctor or therapist right away. Positive thinking can help with depression. But you may also need medicine and therapy.
  • Negative thoughts can make depression worse or can raise your chance of having depression.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, is a type of therapy that can help you replace negative thoughts with positive ones.
  • Changing your thinking will take some time. You need to practice healthy thinking every day. After a while, positive thinking will come naturally to you.
Positive Thinking: Stopping Unwanted Thoughts.
Up Next in This Action Set:
Step 2 of 6

Action Set
What is positive thinking?

Positive thinking, or healthy thinking, is a way to help you stay well by changing how you think. It’s based on research that shows that you can change how you think. And how you think affects how you feel.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy, also called CBT, is a type of therapy that is often used to help people think in a healthy way. CBT can help you learn to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. These negative thoughts are sometimes called irrational or automatic thoughts.

Working on your own or with a counselor, you can practice these three steps:

  • Stop. When you notice a negative thought, stop it in its tracks and write it down.
  • Ask. Look at that thought and ask yourself whether it is helpful or unhelpful right now.
  • Choose. Choose a new, helpful thought to replace a negative one.

The goal is to have positive thoughts come naturally. It may take some time to change the way you think. So you will need to practice positive thinking every day.

Test Your Knowledge

 

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that can help change how you think about yourself.
True
False

This answer is correct.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, is a type of therapy that can help change how you think about yourself.

This answer is incorrect.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, is a type of therapy that can help change how you think about yourself.

You need to see a counselor to do CBT.
True
False

This answer is incorrect.
You don’t need to see a counselor to do CBT. There are techniques you can learn and practice on your own.

This answer is correct.
You don’t need to see a counselor to do CBT. There are techniques you can learn and practice on your own.

Step 3 of 6

Action Set
Why is positive thinking important to help you cope with depression?

Changing the way you think can help you replace negative thoughts with helpful ones. This can help you cope with depression and may help keep it from coming back.1

Maybe you weren’t able to close a sale or get a big project done at work. Or perhaps a relationship has ended. It’s normal to feel down. But you’ve had trouble sleeping. You can’t enjoy many of your usual activities. And you’re blaming yourself. “I’m a failure at everything,” you tell yourself.

The more you think about yourself in a negative way, the harder it is to feel hopeful and positive. The negative thinking makes you feel bad. And that can make you feel more depressed, which leads to more bad thoughts about yourself. It’s a cycle that’s hard to break.

But with practice, you can retrain your brain. After all, you weren’t born telling yourself negative things. You learned how to do it. So there’s no reason you can’t teach your brain to unlearn it and replace negative thinking with more helpful thoughts.

Positive thinking also can help you manage stress. Too much stress can raise your blood pressure and make your heart work harder, which can increase your risk for a heart attack. Stress also can weaken your immune system, which can make you more open to infection and disease.

Although you can use CBT on your own, it’s important to talk to your doctor or a counselor if you feel that your mood is getting worse. You may need more help.

Test Your Knowledge

 

Positive thinking can help you stop negative thoughts that make depression worse.
True
False

This answer is correct.
Positive thinking can help you stop negative thoughts that make depression worse. It also can help you replace those negative thoughts with more helpful, positive ones.

This answer is incorrect.
Positive thinking can help you stop negative thoughts that make depression worse. It also can help you replace those negative thoughts with more helpful, positive ones.

Positive thinking can help your health in other ways.
True
False

This answer is correct.
Positive thinking can lower stress. And less stress can lower your blood pressure and make your immune system stronger.

This answer is incorrect.
Positive thinking can lower stress. And less stress can lower your blood pressure and make your immune system stronger.

Step 4 of 6

Action Set
How can you use positive thinking to cope with depression?

Stop your thoughts

The first step is to stop your negative thoughts or “self-talk.” Self-talk is what you think and believe about yourself and your experiences. It’s like a running commentary in your head. Your self-talk may be positive and helpful. Or it may be negative and not helpful.

Ask about your thoughts

The next step is to ask yourself whether your thoughts are helpful or unhelpful. Does the evidence support your negative thought? Some of your self-talk may be true. Or it may be partly true but exaggerated. There are several kinds of irrational thoughts. Here are a few types to look for:

  • Focusing on the negative: This is sometimes called filtering. You filter out the good and focus only on the bad. Example: “I’m sad that I don’t have many friends. People must not like me.” Reality: You have some friends. So that means you’re likable and can make more friends if you want them.
  • Should: People sometimes have set ideas about how they “should” act. If you hear yourself saying that you or other people “should,” “ought to,” or “have to” do something, then you might be setting yourself up to feel bad. Example: “I should get married before I’m 30. If I don’t, it means I’m a loser.” Reality: There’s nothing wrong with having a timeline in mind. But you’re not being fair to yourself if you make your self-worth depend on meeting a deadline.
  • Overgeneralizing: This is taking one example and saying it’s true for everything. Look for words such as “never” and “always.” Example: “I got laid off. I’ll never get another job.” Reality: Many people lose their jobs because of downsizing and other things beyond their control. It doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to get another job.
  • All-or-nothing thinking: This is also called black-or-white thinking. Example: “If I don’t get a big raise at my next review, then it means I have no future with this company.” Reality: There’s nothing wrong with wanting a big raise. But if you don’t get the raise, there may be reasons for it that have nothing to do with you.

Choose your thoughts

The next step is to choose a more positive, helpful thought to replace the unhelpful one.

Keeping a journal of your thoughts is one of the best ways to practice stopping, asking, and choosing your thoughts. It makes you aware of your self-talk. Write down any negative or unhelpful thoughts you had during the day. If you think you might not remember at the end of your day, keep a notepad with you so you can write down any irrational thoughts as they happen. Then write down a helpful message to correct the unhelpful thought.

If you do this every day, positive or helpful thoughts will soon come naturally to you.

But there may be some truth in some of your negative thoughts. You may have some things you want to work on. If you didn’t perform as well as you would like on something, write that down. You can work on a plan to correct or improve that area.

If you want, you also could write down what kind of irrational thought you had. Journal entries might look something like this:

Thought diary
Stop your negative thought Ask what type of negative thought you had Choose a positive, helpful thought
“I’m sad that I don’t have many friends. People must not like me.” Focusing on negative “I have some friends, so I know I can make friends.”
“I should get married before I’m 30. If I don’t, it means I’m a loser.” Should “There’s no guarantee that I’ll meet the right person by the time I’m 30. If I don’t get married by then, I still have time to find a good relationship.”
“I got laid off. I’ll never get another job.” Overgeneralizing “Our company ran into financial trouble, so I got laid off. It may take some time to get another job, but I know I will.”
“If I don’t get a big raise at my next review, then it means I have no future with this company.” All or nothing “I would love to get a big raise. But it might not be in the company’s budget this year.”
Test Your Knowledge

 

Which of these thoughts is an example of positive thinking?
I’ve had a couple of bad relationships. I know I’ll never have a good relationship.
I feel bad that I didn’t get as big a raise as I wanted. But there may have been reasons that had nothing to do with me. I’ll talk to my supervisor to see if there is anything I can do to get a bigger raise next time.

This answer is incorrect.
This is an example of an irrational thought called overgeneralizing. You may have had some relationships that didn’t last. But that doesn’t mean that you will never meet someone and have a loving relationship.

This answer is correct.
This is a positive thought. You admit that you feel bad about something, but you’re not blaming yourself. You’re taking action to see if there is anything you can do to improve your chances next time.

How can a daily journal help you have more positive thoughts?
It makes you aware of your self-talk and can help you come up with helpful thoughts to correct an irrational thought.
Writing in the journal every day will help positive thinking come naturally to you.

This answer is incorrect.
Both answers are correct. A daily journal can help you be aware of your self-talk and have more positive thoughts. As soon as you write down an unhelpful thought, you can write a positive thought to correct it.

This answer is incorrect.
Both answers are correct. Writing in the journal every day will help positive thinking come naturally to you. It takes some practice. It took a long time for negative thinking to become automatic. So it may take some time to get used to having positive thoughts.

Up Next in This Action Set:
Step 5 of 6

Action Set
Where to go from here

Now that you have read this information, you are ready to practice positive thinking to help cope with depression.
Up Next in This Action Set:
Step 6 of 6

Action Set
See More Popular Action Sets
 
Take an active role in managing your health with these popular Action Sets

 
 

Citations

  1. Paykel ES (2007). Cognitive therapy in relapse prevention in depression. International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, 10: 131–136.

Other Works Consulted

  • Burns DD (1999). Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy. New York: Avon.
  • Ellis A (2001). Overcoming Destructive Beliefs, Feelings, and Behaviors. Amherst, NY: Prometheus.
  • McKay M, et al. (2007). Thoughts and Feelings: Taking Control of Your Moods and Your Life. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger.
 

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD – Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Sue Barton, PhD, PsyD – Behavioral Health
Last Revised August 26, 2010

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

 
Last Updated: August 26, 2010
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
© 1995-2011 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.