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More self-confidence with psoriasis

 
Tips for a positive self-image

 

We want to empower you to live an active and healthy life

“Man is nothing but that which he makes of himself” — whether you suffer from psoriasis or not, you will lead a happier life in the long-run if you remember this French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre’s first principle of existentialism. You can find tips on heightened self-esteem here.

 

When psoriasis symptoms physically alter appearances, this often has an impact on the self-concept and on behaviour. People’s negative reactions can further exacerbate this resulting in lowered self-esteem.1 Consequently, some people begin to avoid certain situations, e.g. hiding affected skin parts and reducing sporting activities or intimate relationships with partners.2

 

Before you know it, psoriasis has taken over the better part of your life — and even if your symptoms and therapy often massively intervene in your everyday life, psoriasis should not determine the way you live it. And it certainly shouldn’t define you as a person. Even if you’ve realised this is already the case, the process is not necessarily a one-way street. In fact, a study has rather shown that even people who have reached this point have managed to become more stable and stronger than ever.1

 

 

 [MvdP1]Do not make this a link

 

 

 

 [GA2]Link deleated as Philips offers wearables too

 

 

1. Get ready and start with just five to 10 minutes a day

Don’t fall into the trap of going overboard just because your skin was fine with it by the end of last summer. Start with a short exposure of maximum 10 minutes. Depending on the sensitivity of your skin, you can gradually increase the time by a few minutes each day. 
1. Get ready and start with just five to 10 minutes a day

Don’t fall into the trap of going overboard just because your skin was fine with it by the end of last summer. Start with a short exposure of maximum 10 minutes. Depending on the sensitivity of your skin, you can gradually increase the time by a few minutes each day. 

3. Be smart and keep a record

 

Always note down what time and for how long you were in the sun. Tracking your exposure and keeping aware of it allows you to track your treatment success. This is especially important if you are undergoing psoriasis treatment with UV radiation at the same time. You might have already reached your maximum radiation level of UVA (315-400 nm), UVB (280-315 nm), and UVC (100-280 nm) without realising it. A great way to track UV radiation is by using wearables. From wristband trackers to skin patches, there are a lot of gadgets out there that can help you keep a record. Some of them even monitor your vitamin D levels!

 

 

 

Self-esteem, health and life satisfaction

 

It is amazing how the self-image intervenes in all aspects of our lives and affects our behaviour: how we approach others and how much of ourselves we are prepared to show to others. And vice versa, to what extent the behaviour of others can impact us. At this point, it helps to realise that our self-perception can also be reflected in our surroundings: a lack of confidence, e.g. due to an acute and visible psoriasis flare-up, provokes negative reactions from thosearound us. A confident attitude on the other hand, tends to fend off peculiar reactions.

 

A negative self-image or low self-esteem can also have a direct impact on our health, for example in the form of mental problems such as depression or social anxiety. A positive self-concept or a healthy sense of self-esteem, on the other hand, prevents psychopathological symptoms3 and is closely linked to well-being — namely feelings of happiness and satisfaction.4

 

Of course, it’s hard to rise above the pain or itchiness, as well as the physical appearance of the condition that is perceived as unattractive. Nevertheless, and precisely for this reason, anyone who dictates their self-perception based on physical deficiencies makes life harder than it already is, and under certain circumstances may run the risk of putting greater strain on their health.

Tips to improve the self-concept — with our without psoriasis

 

1. No way!

Warm-up exercise: focus your attention within and hone in on your typical thought patterns. For example:

 

  • "My presentation was a flop, I am a failure."
  • "I can’t and will never be able to do that."
  • "She doesn’t like me, nobody likes me."

 

If you find that your thinking is often determined by such generalisations, you should try to change it. By recognising this, you’ve already taken a first step in the right direction.

 

2. Sharpen your self-awareness

Pay attention to the way you think, feel and act in certain situations. If you find that you are repeating certain patterns of behavior in similar situations, you are beginning to understand what makes you tick — and then next time you can decide whether you want to react the same way or differently. This is literally how you increase your self-awareness, which can also make you more confident.

 

3. Cross-check: get feedback from the outside

The self-concept is partly always made up of the supposed external image: assumptions about what others are probably thinking about us. These are, however, only speculations and shouldn’t make you question yourself. Get more clarity first — you’ll most likely be positively surprised:

 

Get feedback from good friends, family, your partner — from people you know well or from those you have a lot to do with. Ask them what they perceive your strengths and weaknesses to be — and listen to them attentively.

 

4. Establish a positive self-image: bring your good side into the limelight

Make a list of your strengths, positive thoughts, your individual talents, abilities, character traits, appearance, etc. — bullet points are enough. Take a look at the list every day. Read the words out loud in your head. In the long-term, this will strengthen your self-image.

 

5. Flip the switch: reverse the polarity to positive

You can play the same game by using opposites: "I am impatient", "I can’t say no", "I don’t like my skin". Pick out three points that you like least about yourself and write them down. Now formulate the sentences positively. For example, "I like my skin". These positive sentences almost become new goals for your self-image. Think about how best to achieve these goals.

 

The clou is: by adopting a more positive attitude toward something, e.g. your own skin, you often become more considerate of it and are more motivated to do something for it: for example, you may try to stress less, do more exercise, eat more healthily or to test out a new form of therapy.

Body and consciousness

 

There are many simple and even more elaborate ways to spice up your own psyche with a bit of physical help:

 

  • Probably the simplest: smile for at least a few seconds
  • If you are nervous about something, breath deeply into your lower abdomen — in through the nose and out through the mouth
  • Chin up and chest out: a self-assured physical body can work wonders for your whole being
  • Exercise helps you to feel stronger, livelier and more energetic — and besides this, exercising can have a positive effect on psoriasis

 

This is just a small selection of tips that can help to strengthen your self-confidence. You’ll be able to decide which ones are good for you and not, and if your curiosity has been piqued, remember the internet is full of suggestions.

 

The bottom line is that it is essential to never allow psoriasis to define your entire personality — and that you actively enable yourself to have a more positive self-image.

Sources
 

It is not our intention to give health advice in this article. Please always consult your doctor or a qualified medical professional. Philips is in no way responsible for the content of third-party websites, which are referred to here via hyperlinks — regardless of whether the hyperlink was placed by the website or a third party and is in accordance with the terms and conditions. Links from our website to a third-party website do not mean that we support the third-party site. We do not hold any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, timeliness or suitability of the content of third-party websites to which we link.

 

1. De Bruin, Gideon, Impact of cutaneous disease on the self-concept: an existential-phenomenological study of men and women with psoriasis. Dermatology Nursing, 19(4):351, 2007

2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23062034

3. http://www.psicothema.com/pdf/3436.pdf

4. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11205-005-0213-y;

Schütz, A. (2017). Selbstwert. In M. A. Wirtz (Hrsg.), Dorsch – Lexikon der Psychologie. Abgerufen am 26.09.2017, von https://portal-hogrefe-com.ubproxy.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/dorsch/selbstwert/;

Eid, M. (2017). Wohlbefinden. In M. A. Wirtz (Hrsg.), Dorsch – Lexikon der Psychologie. Abgerufen am 26.09.2017, von https://portal-hogrefe-com.ubproxy.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/dorsch/wohlbefinden/

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