HIV patients are helped with positive emotion coaching

Apr 18 2017 - 5:39am
Teaching happiness

Researchers have determined that teaching happiness to men suffering from HIV improves their health.

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News that somebody has HIV is frightening. And yet the state of mind of a personal afflicted with HIV appears to have an effect on treatment outcomes. So it's a good idea for people with HIV to work on having a positive state of mind to help fight their illness.

An effective natural intervention for HIV has turned out to be the teaching of happiness

Although overall rates of HIV have been reported to be on the decline, there has remained an increase in HIV rates among men who have sex with other men. In a search for natural interventions to fight HIV soybeans have emerged as being helpful. Getting women good jobs helps them avoid turning to the sex trade which is associated with high HIV rates. Another effective natural intervention for HIV has turned out to be the teaching of happiness according to Northwestern University.

Teaching positive affect entails helping people have feelings of happiness, satisfaction and calm

Coaching positive emotion skills people recently diagnosed with HIV has been observed to be associated with lower HIV counts in their blood and decreased use of antidepressants. Lead study author Judith Moskowitz, who is a professor of medical social sciences and director of research at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, says coaching people to have a positive affect seems to have significant health outcomes in people coping with the stress of a positive HIV test. Teaching people to have a positive affect entails helping them have feelings of happiness, satisfaction and calm.

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Moskowitz and her colleagues determined that particular skills which can be used to increase positive emotions include such things as taking time to recognize a positive event everyday, taking a moment to savor an event which is positive, and beginning a daily gratitude journal. Working on ways to deal with daily minor stressors, developing an understanding of how significant acts of kindness can be, and practicing mindfulness with breathing exercises are also helpful.

After happiness training interventions began there was a suppressed HIV viral load noted in 91 percent of the intervention group participants

At fifteen months after happiness training interventions began there was a suppressed HIV viral load noted in 91 percent of the intervention group participants, in comparison to 76 percent in the control group. This may lead to significant public health benefits due to less of a likelihood of transmitting HIV with a low viral load, according to Moskowitz.

A stronger immune system could account for the decreased viral load. Moskowitz has also said the lower viral load could be due to improved adherence to antiretroviral drug therapy. Mental health was also noted to be improved with positive emotion intervention with less increases of antidepressant use among the intervention group than in the control group.

The Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology has published this study and reports teaching of positive affect skills for people who have been recently diagnosed with HIV has great promise as a good intervention. In fact it is believed this intervention is positive for people in the initial stages of adjusting to any serious chronic illness. It seems that learning to be more positive for people with chronic illness has a positive impact which goes much further than simply feeling better about things.

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