The Power of Positive Thinking

sisterSTAFF Blog

The Power of Positive Thinking

April 26, 2011

Hello Sisters! I read a great article in Oprah magazine (April 2011 issue) this week that made me think of you and all of the women attending the Weekend for Women Conference this weekend. You can find the article on page 128.

I have long believed in the connection between positive emotional outlook and physical health. In fact, that’s a huge part of why I changed my major from journalism to psychology in college. But many others, especially those in the medical field, have not been so easily convinced. This is partly because it can’t fully be explained or proven. There are certain things we can control about our health (not to smoke, to exercise, to eat healthfully, and to think positively (optimism). Although scientists don’t fully understand the biological mechanisms at work, they do know that optimism is just as important as the other three factors. They also know that negative feelings such as stress and sadness cause a spike in cortisol levels. This spike in turn suppresses our immune system. (Obviously, with diabetes, we do not need out immune system to be further suppressed!) This article in Oprah provides 5 tips on how to stay positive and healthy based on the latest research: 1)Express Yourself 2) Try Meditative Exercises 3) Seek Help if you need it 4) Lean on your friends and 5) Look on the bright side. In reading through these steps, I was immediately struck by the fact that these are the exact things we will be focusing on this weekend at the conference. 1) We have an advocacy session on “making your voice heard” 2) We have two mind-body exercise classes on Saturday morning 3) We recognize depression as an increased risk for women with diabetes and encourage them to reach out to others for help 4) We are a Sisterhood—and that’s what the weekend is all about! 5) All of our sessions focus on the positive side of living with diabetes. In fact, Martin Seligman, PhD, one of the preeminent experts in the field of positive psychology has written a new book called Flourish. Ironically, the title of our keynote address at the Celebration of Strength Dinner Program is “Flourishing with Diabetes.” Without a doubt, Riva Greenberg will certainly bring positive psychology to the group on Saturday night! After reading this article I feel so rejuvenated and validated—especially when I think about the significant work put in by the Weekend for Women Conference Planning Committee for this year's conference.

Lauren Dzubow also shared a great technique to change your outlook on life. It is called Optimism 101. Here is a brief overview:

A) Name the adversity; “I didn’t get a call back from a job interview.”

B) List your beliefs; “The other candidates were probably better qualified, better looking, and more prepared than me.”

C) Identify the consequences; “I’m going to stop looking for a job, so I don’t have to feel this feeling of disappointment and shame again.”

D) Formulate a disputation of your beliefs; “That job wasn’t the best fit for me. It didn’t allow me to use my creativity or my people skills. It’s only a matter of time until the right job comes along for me. Besides, this interview was good practice for when the “real job” interview comes along!”

E) Describe how energized and empowered you feel now; “I feel motivated to keep looking for a job that is a good fit for me.”

I hope this was helpful! I have to say that I think this upcoming weekend is a prime example of all of these principles and beliefs put to work! If you can join us, please do! It will be a life-changing experience!  Let me know your thoughts and/or how you incorporate positive thinking into your life/diabetes management.