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|Newsletters: Be All You Can Be|
Be All You Can Be
The following article is a synopsis of the Friday morning main session at the 2006 Oley Conference in Salt Lake City, UT. Cheryl Thompson, PhD, RD, CNSD, was the moderator and there were five HPEN consumers on the panel: Rick Davis; Flute Snyder, PhD; Shawn Boulette, RN, BSN; Carol Pelissier and Roy George. Videos/DVDs of this and other sessions will be available to borrow from the Oley Foundation Library some time in the fall.
Cheryl Thompson, PhD, RD, CNSD recently completed her doctoral research entitled Fostering Coping Skills and Resilience in HEN Consumers. She began the session with a presentation highlighting examples of the coping tips her research uncovered. A summary of her favorite “top ten tips” are as follows:
10. Don’t dwell on it. Recognize the difference between dwelling on a problem and contemplating a solution. When you find yourself dwelling on an unsolvable situation, try to short circuit your thinking. Find a distraction (e.g. take a walk), put your feelings into writing, or try to look at the situation more objectively.
9. Turn a problem into a challenge. Changing how you view a situation can turn a defeatist attitude into a motivational force. Look at a problem as a challenge and you will find renewed enthusiasm to overcome it.
8. Change it – accept it – or, deal with it. Problem-focused coping strategies are actions taken to solve the problem or change the stressful situation. Emotion-focused coping strategies are aimed at reducing the negative impact a problem has on you by changing the way you think or feel about the stressful situation. To cope successfully with HPEN, it is essential to use constructive methods of both problem-focused and emotion-focused coping strategies.
7. HPEN is like a team sport. Your team has a quarterback – you. Becoming a skilled quarterback takes effort and perseverance. Your family members, friends, support groups and clinicians also function as part of your “team.” To succeed, you will repeatedly need to pick yourself up and get back in the “game;” and surround yourself with supportive teammates.
6. See one, do one, teach one. Improper or inadequate training causes stress and can lead to serious complications. Many times consumers are educated by being given a pamphlet or instructions (a “See one”). Actually, “doing one” is even more important to demonstrate your knowledge; and teaching someone else will reinforce the new skill and help you to master the new technique.
5. Ask yourself, “What was I thinking?” Whether you are aware of it or not, your mind engages in a constant stream of thoughts, which is sometimes called “self-talk.” Many times that self-talk can be negative. Because we tend to believe our own self-talk, we need to be aware of any negative thoughts we may be having and work to change them into more objective or positive thoughts. To learn more about a technique to change limited-thinking patterns, Cheryl suggested reading literature by Dr. Aaron Beck.
4. Seek and Accept Support. Asking for and then accepting help can be difficult. We need to understand that both are okay. Remember that helping can be rewarding, so pass it on. In addition, nurture those who help you. Start by remembering to say “thank you” as one simple way to show your appreciation.
3. Make every second count. Make the most of the time you spend with your health-care provider. One study found that patients spoke for an average of 18 seconds before their health care provider interrupted them. To maximize you medical appointments: be prepared (e.g. bring your list of questions and topics to discuss), be concise and to the point.
2. Focus on the positive. Dr. Martin Seligman teaches “learned optimism” and his books may be useful to many HPEN consumers. Foster an attitude of gratitude for the good things in your life. Start by writing down three things you are thankful for - every day. Instead of comparing your life to the “rich and famous,” rate it against those who have less fame and fortune. You can see your own situation in a more positive light if you compare yourself to someone in a similar situation or recognize there are people with worse problems than your own.
1. Take charge: Develop an attitude of personal responsibility and acknowledge that you have a choice in how you perceive and deal with the challenges in your life.