Two Practices To Help Manage Chronic Disease

Jun 22, 2024

Living with a chronic disease can often feel like an unending battle, filled with challenges that test your resilience daily. Adopting a growth mindset fueled with two Appreciative Inquiry practices can transform how you live with your condition. Generative questions and positive framing, cornerstones of the Conversations Worth Having approach, offer two practices for fostering a more hopeful and empowered perspective.

1) Ask Generative Questions to Shift Your Focus to Potential and Solutions 

Generative questions open up possibilities rather than closing yourself down. For someone managing a chronic disease, these questions can shift focus from limitations to potential, from problems to solutions. Consider these examples of generative questions you might ask yourself:

  • What activities bring me joy and can be adapted to my current health condition?
  • How can I create a supportive environment that encourages my well-being?
  • What small steps can I take today to improve my health and happiness?

These questions are designed to help you explore new ways of thinking about your situation, sparking ideas and actions that lead to healthy lifestyle changes.

2) Use the Power of Positive Framing

Positive framing involves presenting situations in a way that focuses on what you want to happen and how you might live your best life possible. It doesn’t mean ignoring the difficulties of living with a chronic disease, but rather focusing on what can be done to improve your quality of life.

For instance, instead of thinking, "I can’t do what I used to do," you might frame the situation as, "I have the opportunity to discover new activities that I can enjoy." This shift in perspective can make a significant difference in how you feel and act. 

Combining Generative Questions and Positive Framing can help you SOAR

When used together, generative questions and positive framing can create a powerful synergy. Here’s how you can integrate these practices into your daily life to better manage your chronic disease:

  • Reflect on Your Strengths and Resources:  Ask, "What strengths do I have that can help me manage my condition?" This question acknowledges your capabilities and encourages you to think about how you can leverage them. For example, if you have a support network, consider how you can engage them more actively in your care plan.
  • Identify Opportunities for Improvement: Ask, "What can I learn from this experience that will help me (and possibly others) in the future?" This question turns challenges into learning opportunities. Positive framing helps you see these experiences as part of your journey towards better health.
  • Aspire to a Healthy Life-giving Future:   Ask, "What does a healthy and fulfilling life look like for me?" This helps you visualize your aspirations and then set attainable goals. Positive framing ensures that your vision is realistic and filled with achievable steps, fostering hope and motivation.
  • Results Focus on Small Wins: Positive framing emphasizes progress, no matter how small. Reflect on the question, "What are some small victories I’ve achieved in managing my health?" Make sure you celebrate these successes, whether it’s maintaining a new diet or completing a new exercise routine, reinforces positive behavior and builds momentum. 

This is exactly what Lisa Duerre did after reading Conversations Worth Having: Using Appreciative Inquiry to Fuel Productive and Meaningful Conversations.  Learn how she is using these practices to transform her inner conversations and conversations with family and healthcare providers to live with a progressive and incurable disease, Lipedema. She also shares the Tuning In habit of how she gets above the line when she is below instead of asking. "Why me?".  

Her story is an inspiration, and her energy is magnetic … see for yourself:

Lisa offers these practices to:

  • Build a Supportive Community: Consider this question, "How might I connect with others who understand my experience?" Whether through support groups or online communities, finding others who share your journey can provide emotional support and practical advice. Positive framing helps you see these connections as valuable resources.
  • Engage with Healthcare Professionals: Generative questions can enhance communication with your healthcare providers. Ask, "What are some new treatments or lifestyle changes that could improve my condition?" This opens the door to exploring innovative solutions and ensures your care plan evolves with your needs.

Lisa shares that living with a chronic disease is undeniably challenging, yet by incorporating generative questions and positive framing into your daily life can create a more empowering and life-giving narrative and way of living.

Learn more about these practices at where you'll find a variety of resources and training options to help you transform your conversations for positive change in your life and the lives of others.

Shared by Jackie Stavros, co-author of Conversations Worth Having and co-founder of the Conversations Worth Having Institute. I am inspired by Lisa Duerre’s dedication to helping others thrive and achieve desired results given her daily health challenges instead of asking, "Why me?". Why is this important to share? I believe living with a chronic disease is undeniably challenging, yet by incorporating generative questions and positive framing into your daily life you can create a more empowering and life-giving narrative and way of living.

Photo Credit: Jill Wellington




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