Fear is a common emotion to experience in the wake of a long-term disease diagnosis.
It is powerful, but you can harness its power for good.
Oftentimes, all we know of a disease is its worst possible outcome, usually through personal stories of others, the media, or the Internet search that inevitably turns up the most dire outcomes of a disease. Worst case scenarios rarely come to fruition. Most often, long-term illnesses follow a rather standard progression hovering somewhere in the middle between “worst case scenario” and “miraculous recovery”. When faced with the unknown, especially as it relates to a long-term illness, your mental state and outlook can make a big difference in your quality of life. Focusing on the worst case scenario can quickly lead to a negative spiral of anxiety, depression, and isolation: all conditions which are known to negatively influence health outcomes.
On the other hand, focusing on realistic alternatives to the worst case scenario – and better yet, best case scenarios – can instill hope, happiness, and optimism, all powerful forces in recovery and healing. Remember, most prognoses and treatment outcomes are based on the average patient. Why not aim for outcomes that exceed the average, or are even extraordinary? Someone is bound to achieve them, why not you?
Fear can motivate us to take a proactive approach to our health and to do everything within in our control to tip the scales from “worst case scenario” to “best case scenario”. Start addressing your fears and exploring alternative outcomes by downloading and completing this exercise. (PDF)