Health Psychology focuses on how psychological, behavioral and social factors influence health and illness and how the treatment of many behavioral and emotional concerns can positively affect various medical conditions and general health.
For example, an individual’s health and wellbeing may be significantly improved by learning how to:
- Reduce the occurrence or severity of stress-induced illnesses through relaxation techniques.
- Decrease or eliminate unsafe risk-taking.
- Understand and cope with difficult or painful feelings such as anxiety, depression, anger, or loss.
- Implement healthy habits, such as: improving daily nutrition, getting more quality rest or sleep, and smoking cessation.
- Identify thoughts or feelings that may interfere with positive intentions, motivation, or establishing healthy behavior patterns.
- Communicate effectively with others about physical and emotional needs and issues related to self-care.
Additionally, Health Psychologists are trained to work with people who are living with chronic illness such as: heart disease, cancer, kidney disease, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, disordered sleep and chronic pain. People who are recovering from illness, injury or stroke and those who are considering surgery or other medical interventions can also benefit from working with a health psychologist.
Fortunately, we can learn ways to control negative thoughts and behaviors in which we choose to engage. By increasing our awareness and learning specific skills, we can make positive, healthy changes in our lives and the lives of our families.