Nathalie Begin author of the Gutsy Feeling Blog invited me to give a positive psychology workshop called Optimism Bootcamp at a Symposium for Crohn’s & Colitis Canada.
The audience was filled a very special group of people. Individuals that have been battling the chronic condition of Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) their whole lives.
Optimism and Health Empowerment
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) describes a group of conditions, the two main forms of which are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. IBD also includes indeterminate colitis.
Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are diseases that inflame the lining of the GI (gastrointestinal) tract and disrupt your body’s ability to digest food, absorb nutrition, and eliminate waste in a healthy manner.
Individuals with chronic health problems such as IBD often feel a sense of helplessness and disempowerment over their bodies.
Which is why teaching concrete strategies for focusing on what’s within one’s control (beliefs and attitudes; deep breathing; present moment awareness) and letting go of what’s not (waiting times; IBD diagnosis; doctor availability) is so important.
Believing you can is half the battle.
Research in health psychology shows that optimism and having hope in one’s future has a significant impact on whether patients follow through on medical advice.
Optimism has also been found to improve overall quality of life, well-being, and happiness of cancer patients.
Click Here for Research on Health, Hope, and Optimism
Optimism Can Be Learned
The good news is that optimism is a skill that can be learned.
- Optimism / pessimism are not fixed personality traits that someone is lucky (or unlucky) enough to be born with.
- Optimism / pessimism are states (not traits) that are malleable and open to change.
- Optimism / pessimism are attributional styles that can be taught and reinforced over time.
Additional insight on how our minds work
Excerpt from Optimism Article:
Using Attribution Theory, I can tell a lot about someone by the way they interpret the events that happen in their lives, particularly the explanatory style they use in analyzing setbacks versus successes.
The pessimist perceives failures as personal, permanent, and pervasive, and thus has difficulty moving beyond setbacks. They often get lost in a recurrent loop of negativity.
In contrast, optimists see setbacks as universal. to everyone, temporary in time, and limited to one or two areas of their lives.
Optimism in Our Community
Hope changes everything. It transforms pessimism into optimism. It changes winter into summer, darkness into dawn, descent into ascent, barrenness into creativity, agony into joy.Daisaku Ikeda
Read Optimism Bootcamp Article: Click Here