Thursday, January 12, 2012

Attitude Can Make All the Difference

I was recently contacted by a reader who is passionate about helping people, and she wanted to know if she could guest-write on my blog. Her name is Melanie Bowen and she is a contributor at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance blog, helping people work through their serious illnesses. If anyone out there is struggling with their health, or just wants to get serious about starting a journal or making goals, read on! 

Within the beginning of the new year, many people are thinking toward the future and changes they want to make in the next twelve months.  For people with chronic and life-changing illness, looking to the future is an important part of staying as healthy as possible.  In a report published on e!Science News it was stated that researchers have discovered that patient attitude can make a difference in how well patients tolerate treatment and their overall recovery.  With this in mind, it is important to think about setting goals for the future and what you want to accomplish this year, not only in terms of your health, but also in terms of your overall life plan.

Benefits of Using a Journal or Blog

One of the best ways to begin to work out what you want for yourself is to start writing thoughts and ideas down.  Many psychotherapists recommend using a journal as a way of working through your thoughts and feelings. If you have ever kept a journal, you know that you can often read back through older entries and see a progression of thoughts as you work your way through your emotional process.

For individuals facing illness, whether it is a rare uncommon disease like a mesothelioma prognosis or an illness faced by many people, like asthma, dealing with the challenges of being ill can be difficult.  Writing in a journal allows you to write down your feelings, good or bad, and express those feelings outside of yourself. Treatments may be overwhelming, but through goal setting and writing, one can relieve stress, tension and emotions positively--leading to beneficial rewards and wellness.

A journal, whether it is a physical journal, an online journal such as LiveJournal or a blog, is also a place to write about your successes.  It is a place to write down the positive things that happen in your life and celebrate them.  This can be a wonderful resource for you to go back to on bad days, and remind yourself that it will get better and that you have things to look forward to.

Setting Goals

A journal or blog is also a good place to begin setting positive goals for yourself.  These may be specific goals related to your illness, or they may be overall life goals that are part of your “bucket list” of things you want to accomplish during your life.  You can write simple goals for yourself, such as “I will walk around the block every day.”  You can also integrate larger goals for yourself in your blog, such as “I will walk my daughter down the aisle on her wedding day.”

Goals are also an important part of maintaining a positive outlook on life.  They give you something to work toward and look forward to in the future.  And when you accomplish your goal, then you can cross it off the list and move on toward the next one.  If you have a continually evolving list of goals, then you will also have an on ongoing list of things to be looking forward to in the future.

No matter what your health prognosis is for the future, you can use blogging, writing in a journal and goal setting as a tool to help you maintain a positive and healthy attitude.  And maintaining a positive attitude will help you in life overall, not just with your health challenges.


  1. What a great post! As a sufferer of a form of juvenile arthritis, I can testify to the usefulness of a journal in pondering the meaning of illness in one's walk with Christ, as well as setting goals--both larger-than-life ones and smaller steps leading up to it.

  2. I'm so glad that you liked it, Olivia! I had no idea that you were suffering from an illness; you're in my prayers.

  3. Thank you, Abby! I appreciate it.


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