Staying positive and busy are good for my COPD and mental health

Anxiety and depression are common among people with my disease

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by Caroline Gainer |

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I’m fortunate to be a glass-half-full person. Since being diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), I’ve had to take deliberate actions to keep myself on the positive side of the spectrum. One of the tactics I employ for this purpose is to keep my mind occupied and my body active, all the while pacing myself.

Doing the above can help prevent anxiety and depression, which are common COPD comorbidities. A study seven years ago noted that increased physical activity by COPD patients can reduce the risk of anxiety and depression.

I had other health concerns before COPD came along, but with the other conditions, I was able to take a prescription medication or a supplement or participate in physical therapy sessions to manage them. No similar treatment program has been presented to me for COPD.

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Some days, my health situation causes me to be downhearted, but most of the time, I’m much too busy doing upkeep on my home and lawn to dwell on them. My problem is that I no longer have the energy to work on these tasks for the entire day, so I need to keep my mind occupied with other activities, too.

I volunteer my time with the COPD Foundation and the American Lung Association. This effort helps me feel relevant and important as I continue my quest to manage COPD.

Hobbies like sewing, crocheting, and reading help me pace myself and can be done while sitting down. (I’m not someone who can sit still without doing something.) I’m also looking into a volunteer project called Dogs for People, which our local shelter is sponsoring. This program seems like a good fit for me, because while I probably need more interaction with people who don’t have COPD, I also love animals; they’ll help, as well.

I passionately believe that a positive mental attitude can help you navigate the valleys in life, and I’ve found that staying busy helps me maintain a good attitude — and keep anxiety and depression at bay.

Note: COPD News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of COPD News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.