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Taking moments to enjoy life helps patients make better health decisions
Date:1/23/2012

>Excerpt from Positive Affect/Self-Affirmation Script:

First, when you get up in the morning, think about the small things that you said make you feel good, like __________________________ (example: babies in hats, the sunrise...). Then as you go through your day, notice those and other small things that make you feel good and take a moment to enjoy them. Second, when you encounter some difficulties or are in a situation that makes it hard for you (e.g. taking your blood pressure medications or exercising), think about things you enjoy or proud moments in your life, like __________________________ (example: a graduation, success of a child...).

The behavior 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 behaviors to improve their health," Dr. Charlson adds.

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 behavior 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 explains; 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
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Contact: Linda Kamateh
lib9027@med.cornell.edu
212-821-0560
New York- Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center/Weill Cornell Medical College
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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