When you’re treating patients, it’s often helpful to look on the bright side of things. While we know it’s important to be reasonable when consulting with patients, studies have shown that optimism in healthcare can go a long way. A study of more than 4,000 people 50 and older published last year in the Journal of Gerontology, Becca Levy and Avni Bavishi at the Yale School of Public Health demonstrated that having a positive view of aging can have a beneficial influence on health outcomes and longevity. This is just one of the many benefits that optimism can have on both you and your patients. Here are a few things to consider as you begin to see the glass as half full.
Benefits of Optimism in Healthcare
People Feel Healthier
Mental health actually ties very closely with physical health. The healthier we think we are, the healthier we tend to be. Optimists tend to suffer from anxiety and stress less than others because they often view things in a positive light. If you don’t sweat the small stuff and spend your time looking on the bright side of things, you’ll be less likely to worry or panic. Carrying this optimism with you as you treat other patients will give them peace of mind when they’re faced with a health crisis themselves. Bedside manner really can help your patient’s health and it will create trust between doctor and patient. However, it’s also important, to be honest with yourself and your patient, so make sure you know where to draw the line between optimism and wishful thinking.
People Actually Are Healthier
Studies have shown that people actually are healthier when they think optimistically. Optimism has been shown to affect blood pressure, heart disease, and other cardiovascular issues. A 2006 study explored the link between emotions and viral infections of the respiratory tract. Scientists evaluated the personality style of 193 healthy volunteers and then gave each a common respiratory virus. Subjects who displayed a positive personality style were less likely to develop viral symptoms than their less positive peers. Also, other studies show that those who are more optimistic, tend to have lower blood pressure than those who are not. It’s no secret that healthcare professionals work in one of the most stressful environments, so staying optimistic can greatly increase your health. It’s also a good idea to pass this knowledge on to your patients so they can stay happy and healthy.
How to Practice Optimism in Healthcare
It’s easy to talk about all the benefits of optimism in healthcare, but it’s more important to actually practice it. Here are a few things you can do to keep the positive thinking going.
Be Nice To Others
One of the easiest ways to practice optimism in healthcare is to compliment others as much as you can. We naturally feel better when we are nice to others, so start complimenting your coworkers and patients when you can. This can be a great way to support others while making yourself feel good in the process.
Set Attainable Goals
Setting and achieving attainable goals can also be a great way to promote optimism in healthcare. Whether it’s your own goal or the goal of a patient, this will create an optimistic outlook on health and other aspects of life. Being able to track and eventually achieve these goals will push both you and your patients to be the best possible person.
Talk to Yourself
It’s also really important to give yourself compliments. Self-gratification plays an important role in mental and physical health, so make sure to always tell yourself something positive.