Your Mood & Your Healing


Surgery can be a stressful and daunting experience for many people, and the recovery process can be just as challenging. While the physical aspects of healing after surgery are important, it’s also essential to consider the role that your mood and mental health can play in the healing process.

The Connection between Mood and Healing

Research has shown that there is a strong connection between mood and healing after surgery. When you’re in a positive mood, your body produces hormones that can help to reduce inflammation, improve immune function, and accelerate the healing process. Conversely, negative emotions such as anxiety, depression, and stress can have the opposite effect, slowing down the healing process and increasing the risk of complications.

  1. Stress has been shown to affect how quickly wounds heal. Intentional wounds were created inside the mouth of multiple dental students at Ohio State. Students also filled out questionnaires about their stress levels. Wounds were created at the beginning of the semester and again right before exams. The healing times were monitored and compared with the stress levels. Stress slowed the healing of wounds by 40% mainly due to the reduced production of a chemical in the body called Interleukin-1.
  2. Studies in England have shown negative impacts on wound healing for patients who have marital discord.
  3. Patients with a history of anxiety and/or depression had increased rates of wound infection, hospitalization, and dissatisfaction with results. 
  4. Pre-operative dissatisfaction with appearance was also associated with an increased risk of complications and increased chance of dissatisfaction after surgery. 

Your mindset plays a critical role in your healing journey after surgery.

The Importance of Positive Thinking

Positive thinking can be a powerful tool in promoting healing after surgery. By focusing on positive thoughts and visualizing a successful recovery, you can help to reduce stress and anxiety, boost your immune system, and promote overall well-being. Some strategies that can help you maintain a positive mindset include:

1. Practicing mindfulness: Mindfulness techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and yoga can help to reduce stress and anxiety, promote relaxation, and improve mood.

2. Staying connected: Social support from friends and family can help to boost mood and provide a sense of comfort and security during the recovery process.

3. Engaging in activities that bring you joy: Activities such as reading, listening to music, or spending time in nature can help to promote a positive mood and reduce stress.

4. Staying informed: Learning about your condition, the surgery, and the recovery process can help to reduce anxiety and promote a sense of control and empowerment.

The Role of Mental Health

Conditions such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can make it more challenging to cope with the physical and emotional challenges of recovery. If you’re experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition, it’s essential to seek support from a mental health professional. Remember to take care of yourself both physically and mentally during the recovery process, and don’t hesitate to seek support from healthcare professionals or loved ones if needed.
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