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How can positive psychology help people with multiple sclerosis (MS)?

While conventional depression treatments typically focus on reducing negative behaviors, thoughts and feelings, positive psychology promotes daily practice of self­-management strategies that increase positive mood and thinking -- and this can help people with multiple sclerosis (MS). These strategies empower you to feel happier by changing perceptions and capitalizing on your positive qualities.

By identifying and incorporating your positive qualities into daily routine, you are less likely to feel worthless and damaged by MS and more likely to feel good about yourself. Finding and recognizing opportunities for applying the positive qualities you like about yourself and retain in spite of MS, even if now expressed in different ways, fosters hope, which is often absent in depression.

Happiness­building activities are the core of positive psychology. Increasing happiness does not mean denying the reality of your situation. By increasing positive experiences, you broaden your perspective in ways that promote constructive change and adaptive coping, or prevent worsening a situation.

Three basic techniques for building positives into your life include practicing optimism, mindfulness and gratitude.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.