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Chronic Illness Q&A with Dr. B.

larry-berkelhammer_hs1This 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:  Can Wellbeing (happiness) Improve Physical Health?

ANSWER:  There are two distinct areas that dramatically influence health outcomes.                                                     

1.    Healthcare: This starts with having a good primary care physician who takes good care of you and refers you to the proper specialists when appropriate.

2.    Self-care: this consists of the following:

           a)  Diet, exercise, sleep, stress-management

           b)  Wellbeing: This is the most challenging and the most overlooked area of life that influences our state of health. Wellbeing directly influences health.  Here is how:

We all engage in ways of thinking that create emotional distress. When emotional distress becomes chronic, it results in physiological stress, which then influences our state of health.

If you live with chronic health challenges and despite eating a healthy diet, getting enough exercise, sleep, and stress-management, you are still not well, there is more you can do. I’m referring to working on improving your state of wellbeing. This may not cure you of your chronic illness, but it will certainly have positive, healthy, physiological effects. 

I recommend doing all you can do to increase wellbeing. Emotional baggage that we carry through life, which prevents us from being happier, can be worked with in psychotherapy. Unfortunately, it is often difficult to find the right therapist. My preference is for group therapy, which is more cost effective as well as more effective.  Even if you are lucky enough to find a therapist who helps you improve your state of wellbeing, it is not enough. See all the various recommendations described in http://larryberkelhammer.com/category/qa-ask-dr-b

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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