Focusing on your emotional wellbeing
Tips for staying positive during IPF treatment
There may be ups and downs throughout your journey with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Staying positive can be difficult, but there are ways you can take care of your mental and emotional health. Here are some tips to help you stay positive, relaxed, and motivated.
Reflecting on your day: Take a moment each evening to think about what made you happiest that day. Share this moment with a loved one or write it down in your journal.
Expressing yourself: Use the Tracking Your Journey journal to make note of your thoughts and feelings, and questions to ask your doctor at your next visit. Talk to loved ones about how you’re feeling—sharing your feelings with another person can help.
Being proactive: Keep an open dialogue going with your doctor. Tell your doctor about your experiences and any side effects you have with treatment, because he or she may have tips to help you manage those side effects.
Joining an IPF support group can be a great way to connect with others who understand your struggles and can celebrate your successes. To see a list of IPF support groups, click here >
There are lots of ways that relaxation techniques may help you manage the stress of living with an unpredictable disease like IPF. Studies show that following these tips could help trigger your body’s natural relaxation response, resulting in:
- Lower blood pressure
- A feeling of increased wellbeing
Relaxation techniques aren’t hard to learn, but they are skills. Like any skill, they take some practice. Invite a family member or friend to join you.
Make an “appointment” to relax
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health recommends the following relaxation exercises:
- Take slow, even breaths
- Focus on pleasant images or memories to replace negative or stressful feelings
- Tighten and relax different muscle groups throughout your body. For example, make a fist for a moment, then relax. Next, flex your arms and relax them. Then move on to other muscle groups
Other practices that can also promote relaxation include:
- Tai chi
Talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise routine. You can find more information about these techniques at www.nccih.nih.gov.