How changing the way you think can improve your life

| Tamara Miller

Misery loves company, they say, and there’s no better home for negative thoughts than in the confines of your head.

Ron Villano knows this well. After losing his teenage son in a car accident, he spent nearly four years numb with grief. He’s since dug his way out of the hole, rejoined the land of the living and recently wrote a book about how to overcome life’s challenges and start living again.

Villano, who runs a private counseling practice in New York, is the author of The Zing, a self-help book that argues that focusing on the positive and taking action can drag you out of the dumps.

“Reading books on psoriasis or how someone beat it, is psychologically reinforcing the negative,” Villano said. “I’ll give you something else to move your mind to embrace change.”

A little self-reflection never hurt anyone, but research shows that people struggling with depression fare much better when they focus on the people and events around them.

Villano offered these three tips for anyone struggling to cope with a chronic disease like psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis:

1) Write down three things you truly love to do.

Even if your disease now limits you, doing even 10 percent of what you used to do will be beneficial, Villano said. If pain in your feet keeps you from being active, consider changing your footwear or swapping out your high-impact sports for a lower-impact activity like cycling or walking. If hobbies like cooking are what you miss most, a few tools and modifications can help you get back to the kitchen.

2) Write down three people who are very, very positive in your life.

These are the people who give you energy when you spend time with them, not take it away. “They are helpful people who you can talk to about normal, everyday life,” Villano said. If you need help dealing with negative people in your life, consider these tips.

3) When you wake up, write five things you are truly thankful for.

These could be the same things every day. It doesn’t matter what they are, only that you take note of them, Villano said. Thinking about what is good in your life turns the focus away from the bad, which you often can’t control. Research continues to show that expressing gratitude can improve your well-being.

Driving discovery, creating community

For more than 50 years, we’ve been driving efforts to cure psoriatic disease and improve the lives of those affected. But there’s still plenty to do! Learn how you can help our advocacy team shape the laws and policies that affect people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis – in your state and across the country. Help us raise funds to support research by joining Team NPF, where you can walk, run, cycle, play bingo or create your own fundraising event. If you or someone you love needs free, personalized support for living a healthier life with psoriatic disease, contact our Patient Navigation Center. And keep the National Psoriasis Foundation going strong by making a donation today. Together, we will find a cure.

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