Washington, Jan 24 (ANI): Thinking about happy moments in life helps some patients with chronic diseases, including coronary artery disease, high blood pressure and asthma, make better decisions about their health.
These findings are detailed in three studies of 756 patients-the first large, randomized controlled trials to show that people can use positive affect and self-affirmation to help them make and sustain behaviour change.
The research was led by Dr. Mary Charlson, executive director of the Center for Integrative Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College and the William T. Foley Distinguished Professor of Medicine and professor of integrative medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College.
The same intervention was used in all three studies. Patients were encouraged to think of small things in their lives that make them feel good (such as seeing a beautiful sunset) when they get up in the morning and throughout their day.
Patients were also asked to use self-affirmation to help them overcome obstacles to their plan by recalling moments in their lives they are proud of, such as a graduation (see script excerpt below).
"This simple approach gives patients the tools that help them fulfill their promise to themselves that they will do what's needed for their health," said Dr. Charlson.
"For example, if it's raining and they don't feel like exercising, these strategies can help them get past this mental block and into their sneakers," he explained.
The behaviour changes employed in the studies are known to be beneficial-whether it is increased physical activity for coronary artery disease or regularly taking medication for high blood pressure or asthma.
"In this way, positive affect made a real difference-patients are better able to follow through on behaviours to improve their health," Dr. Charlson said.
Patients were randomly assigned either to the experimental "positive affect" group or to a control group. Both groups made personal contracts to adhere to their behaviour plans, were given an educational guide on the importance of their intervention, and received phone calls every two months to check in on their progress.
Along with daily use of positive affect, patients in the experimental group received surprise gifts like tote bags prior to the phone sessions. The monetary value of the gifts was unimportant, Dr. Charlson explained; rather, they were symbolic and served to reinforce the intervention.
Results were measured at the completion of the yearlong studies.
For coronary artery disease, 55 percent of patients practicing the positive affect/self-affirmations increased their physical activity compared with 37 percent in the control group; the positive affect group walked an average of 3.4 miles a week more than the control group.
For high blood pressure (the study focused on African-Americans with the disease), 42 percent of the positive affirmation group adhered to their medication plan compared with 36 percent in the control group.
For asthma patients, there was no difference in energy expenditure between the two groups; however, there was some benefit for patients requiring medical care during the trial.
The results of the studies are published online in the Jan. 23 edition of the Archives of Internal Medicine. (ANI)
Read More: Lady Harding Medical College | Medical College | Gsvm Medical College | Medical College Po | B.r.d Medical College | Mlb Medical College So | Govt. Medical College | Gandhi Medical College | Madras Medical College | Kilpauk Medical College | Thanjavur Medical College So | Pariyaram Medical College | Calicut Medical College Mdg | Alappuzha Medical College | R.g.kar Medical College Po | Assam Medical College | Silchar Medical College | M.g.m Medical College | Ranchi Medical College | Ranchi Medical College Campus