Positive Psychology is currently a hugely talked about topic. With its emphasis on the positive aspects of being and moving in the direction of growth of the self, positive psychology finds around us numerous individuals who adhere to its tenets. Positive psychology has much to give to the situations pertaining to medical illnesses that many individuals can find themselves in. Whether it is the person himself or his family member who struggles with an illness which can be life-threatening, chronic or illnesses which occur regularly and frequently, positive psychology can help individuals move in a more desirable direction that is beneficial in the long run
The mind and body are connected. So anything going wrong in the body an affect the way we think and feel. Conversely what we think and feel can also cause physical or somatic symptoms to manifest. In such a scenario it is crucial to have up one’s sleeve better coping mechanisms and methodologies to overcome the debilitating effect these conditions can have upon us.
What Positive Psychology Has to Offer
1. Focus on what is working – For most of us we get preoccupied with everything that is not going well. One of the basic tenets of positive psychology is to look at the things that are actually going well or ok instead of being consumed by everything that seems to be going downhill. This allows for an individual to maintain a stance of positivity in the light of the things that seem to be working.
2. Creativity and self-determination of individuals – Another essential focal area is the creativity and self-determination that exist within individuals to overcome difficult circumstances. Examples abound around us that have demonstrated rather effectively the challenges that can be conquered by relying on one’s creative genius and will to do well.
3. Focus on your strengths – Every individual has their own strengths and positive qualities that should be an area of focus. At the same time, even when one is struggling through a difficult situation having people around to rely on for support is also a strength which can be effectively utilized to move past challenging medical conditions.
4. Re-focus from the negative to the positive – The human mind has an inherent tendency to focus on all that is wrong and bad. It conveniently forgets to look at the good. The negative emotions tend to be more salient and intense than the positive ones. So the focus needs to be on pushing yourself to look at the positive side of things and not necessarily what may be going wrong with them.
5. Find meaning in the things you do – Even though you may be struggling with a difficult situation in the form of a medical condition, you can still find some meaning in the things that you do. Finding a meaning and purpose is always helpful in being able to tide over the challenges one is facing.
Applying Positive Psychology to Medical Illnesses
The principles of Positive Psychology have a lot to offer if you or someone you know if struggling with a medical condition. Regardless of what type of an illness you have, there are always some aspects of life that are continuing to progress in a normal and positive manner. Focusing on these aspects always helps in coping with the challenges that having a medical illness posits. At the same time, ensuring that one is engaging with other things enables us to shift our attention away from the negative of the illness.
There needs to be a purpose in life and even though finding that purpose can at times be challenging, it should be something that one must focus on as one moves through a difficult illness. This purpose could relate to doing something for one’s own self, or for family or for others in general. Moving away from the negative thoughts that can come and plague you is important and having something constructive and creative to do can go a long way in helping you steer away from them.
Using some of these aspects of positive psychology can be rather beneficial in the long run in coping with an illness.