The power of hope
We’ve all probably leaned on sayings such as “happiness can be found in the darkest of times” and “there’s always light at the end of the tunnel” when we needed reason to be hopeful. Recent research has found that hopefulness might actually reduce stress, especially for some patients.
A study in Dove Medical Press found that a positive affect intervention reduced stress in patients with diagnosed HIV, helping in their treatment. The researchers provided a daily intervention of positivity to the experimental group while the control group received no intervention. Fifteen months later, the experimental group saw beneficial effects on psychological well-being, health behaviors and physical behaviors.
Kathy Hill, a nurse navigator at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Ill., believes being hopeful can sometimes be accomplished by refocusing on activities such as yoga, Tai Chi or counseling, which can often times alleviate stress and help patients manage their pain better. She adds that while it is impossible to change a prognosis by a change in attitude, it is possible to improve your quality of life .
“Our focus is on providing resources and support to educate, and equip patients as they face their diagnosis. We try to help them get their center back,” says Hill.
According to Hill, patients with chronic illnesses often spend a lot of time in hospitals and physician offices and lose some control over their schedules. The desire is for normalcy and to focus on what they can do, not what they cannot. Because of this, at Condell’s Cancer Resource Center, the navigators introduce programs that patients can engage in physically, spiritually and emotionally, to assist them in renewing their focus and increasing their support network, which many times can improve the quality of their life.
“We walk beside our patients as they face many challenges,” says Hill. “We hope to show them the thread of light that can be found in the darkest cloud and build on that. A light will shine through. There is always hope in the moment.”
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About the Author
Shvetali Thatte, a junior at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, is a remote Public Affairs and Marketing intern for Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Ill. She spends her time by engaging in clubs and sports at school as well as volunteering at the hospital and nearby tutoring programs. She enjoys spending time with her friends, traveling, and reading. In the future, she hopes to pursue a career in medicine with a focus on public health.