The Benefits of Positive Psychology for Those Living with Chronic and Acute Health Conditions – Check Out the Online Discussion Forum!

This week in Barbara Fredrickson’s Online Positive Psychology Course, the focus is on HEALTH. There is an ongoing discussion forum, where I just started a thread on Positive Psychology and Chronic and Acute Health Conditions. I’m excited to see what people have to say! Here is part of what I shared:

“The study of positive psychology has so much to offer those of us dealing with difficult health conditions. Personally, when I discovered this field, it opened me up to a realm of possibilities that I had never thought were possible. I was 24 years old, had just been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, and was feeling helpless. Seeing *scientific evidence* demonstrating the power that individuals have to shape their own experiences of life gave me great hope and changed the way I looked at my diagnosis. As I started applying some of what I was learning, cultivating and bringing more awareness to positive emotions in my own life, I started to see Dr. Fredrickson’s Broaden & Build Theory in action, and my upward spiral took off! Experiencing more positivity helped to lift me out of the contracted, stressed, and fearful state that so often comes with health crises, and *broadened my awareness* of what I might be able to do to improve my experience, whether that meant directly impacting the course of illness or making the most of whatever it brought me. This opened me up to exploring alternative approaches to health, diving more deeply into meditation and other beneficial practices, and knowing that having an MS diagnosis did not need to define how I lived my life. For the last 7 years, I have been *building resources*, just as Dr. Fredrickson describes in her work. I’ve discovered so many things that have improved my experience of living with chronic illness, many of which have directly improved my health, AND now I get to share these discoveries with others as part of my career! The spiral continues and I am in awe.

There is so much to be discussed here. For now, I’m very curious to hear from those of you who are dealing with health conditions about any shifts you’ve seen from applying positive psychology in your own lives. And if all of this is new to you, do you have ideas about how positive psychology could benefit you in dealing with your condition?”

If you’re interested, you can sign up for the course sign up for the course here.

(https://www.coursera.org/course/positivepsych)

And you can follow or join the discussion thread here.

(https://class.coursera.org/positivepsych-001/forum/thread?thread_id=8096)

Comments

  1. Silvia Gebicki says:

    Hello Kelly, I am one of the online Positive Psychology students and am finding it quite life changing. I have just viewed Barbara Fredrickson’s interview with you and wanted to come to this site, wish you well and thank you for your contribution. I also wanted to mention a newly published book by Norman Doidge called “The Brain’s Way of Healing” – Remarkable Discoveries and Recoveries from the Frontiers of Neuroplasticity. I’m only just reading chapter 2, but noticed that later in the book, the author discusses how some people with MS have been able to help themselves. – I had experienced life-long migraines, which developed a few months ago into chronic pain syndrome through hyper-sensitization of nerves in my neck region. I adopted the approach described in chapter 1 and have not had a migraine for several weeks now. The combination of positive psychology and other neuroplastic techniques are working wonders. – All the best.

    • Kelly Stack says:

      Hi Silvia! I actually just replied to someone on the Coursera forum who mentioned the same book, so after hearing about it twice within a few hours, I’m extra excited to check it out! I’m so glad to hear you are finding some relief from the new approach you’ve adopted, and also very happy to know that you are enjoying the course! Dr. Fredrickson, AND her work, are just amazing. Getting to spend so much time with her has been a great source of positivity :). Thank you for your comment, for your kind words, and well wishes. All the best to you!

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