There is a relatively new body of work that has a significant potential to help with quality of life for those living with Chronic Pain ~
Born of research out of Harvard, Stanford and the University of Pennsylvania, Martin Seligson was the first one, as the President of the American Psychological Association (he chose it as his “theme”), to draw attention to the body of research work that has become known as “Positive Psychology”. The term was first utilized by Abraham Maslow in the 1950’s and has become an entire field of Psychology in its own right.
One of their findings has to do with the way we perceive the world…and not surprisingly, they have found that those who consistently see the world through the lens of threat and/or negativity are significantly more likely to have poor health and live shorter lives. We who live with Chronic Pain, and the body’s constant pain-related signal of fight-or-flight, can become….
overwhelmed with the sense of threat- which can lead to catastrophizing, panic attacks, anxiety, etc. to say nothing of the sadness aka depression that often accommodates the condition.
On the other hand, if you believe that your behavior matters, you create “entire constellations of positivity” and form such habits such as practicing gratitude, exercise, and interacting in an intentionally positive manner with others i.e. actively looking for the positives.
These all can have a dramatic, research-supported beneficial influence on our health and quality of life.
Shawn Achor, a researcher and writer out of Harvard, (see his best-selling book The Happiness Advantage) is actively working with the healthcare industry by bringing the knowledge learned from Positive Psychology, the health benefits of the power of a positive mind- informing and teaching those in the industry about the known “happiness techniques” and habits that serve to dramatically improve our health and simply our lives point period.
A very popular and entertaining You-Tube video of Shawn Achor, in which he speaks to the research, the field and specific techniques to put it all into action is here: