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Chronic Illness Q&A with Dr. B.

larryB&W@300This question & answer column is for people living with chronic health challenges and their family caregivers, who want to learn to increase the odds of improving their health by learning to live with mastery & wellbeing.

I invite you to post your questions in the comments box below. When I get a certain number of related questions, I pick one that covers them all and I answer that one. I post to this blog three times per week. Monday posts are relevant published articles. Wednesday posts are interviews—mostly video. Friday posts consist of questions about living better with chronic health challenges, and my answers to them.

Here is today’s question:

QUESTION: Based on what you’ve written about the harmful physiological effects of negative affect, I’m concerned that my tendency toward depression is predisposing me to early illness and death. How can I get my mojo back?

ANSWER: I assume by losing your mojo, you mean you feel you are no longer on top of your game—whatever it was—and that you’ve lost the passion for what you do. If so, I have the following suggestion: New trainees, whether in medicine, law, and many other fields often are very hungry to learn new things and are very curious about every new daily discovery. Over time, as we become more experienced and settle into a routine, work can become less stressful, but at the same time, it can become less exciting and eventually, we can lose our edge along with a loss of excitement. We can sometimes long for the curiosity about everything new that we learned every day earlier in life. My suggestion: Make a commitment and set a daily intention to actively cultivate curiosity and learn new things. It may seem artificial at first to intentionally cultivate curiosity, but it is one of the many ways to reprogram neural circuits to recapture that exciting sense of curiosity we had earlier in life. It is not enough to simply find something new to learn. While doing it, I suggest actively setting an intention to be curious. Once the curiosity becomes established and natural, it will invigorate your life.

This website is offered as a free public service, supplying information that has been found helpful to certain people living with chronic health challenges. No treatment is offered on this website. The advice is general, and may or may not apply to your individual situation, and is not a substitute for psychotherapy or medical treatment.

What questions do you have about how to live better with chronic health challenges that are related to the relationship between states of mind and health? Just scroll down and type your question in the comment box. I will post a reply to your comment, but your question may not appear in this column.

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