Autoimmune Disease Support Group

Our  Mascots are Marlie and Wilson!  

February 25, 2021

Held via ZOOM


1. Ice Breaker Question: “What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?”

2. Go Over Meeting Rules

3. TOPIC:  Impact of optimism and resilience on health

4. Open sharing about issues related to illness


Definition of resilience  The ability to bounce back from stressful situations (health, employment, changes to income, loss of loved one, isolation

Traits of Resilience: 

  • Pursuing a meaningful goal
  • Considering many perspectives to challenge assumptions
  • Flexible in thinking (with ability to accept reality of painful situation)
  • Grow from situations that cause suffering
  • able to act despite fear
  • Ability to regulate our emotions (liberate self from destructive emotions/thoughts)
  • Understand free will (belief that we have power of our own life)
  • Utilizes social support

Information retrieved from

Lack of resilience has been equated to an inability to handle stress. Stress is one of the most detrimental factors in chronic illness. Both in developing a chronic illness, and in causing flare-ups. Stress over time is very harmful to our bodies. According to an article  in Harvard Health Publishing (Harvard Medical School) at

chronic stress can cause hypertension and/or heart disease, anxiety and/or depression, insomnia and a weakening of the immune system.

To Build Resilience

  • Meditation – causes relaxation which lowers B/P, HR and oxygen demands, reduces levels of stress hormones
  • Reframing  - looking for the “upside” in any situation
  • Social Network – friends and family that you can unburden on and help to search for solutions
  • Practice Positive Thinking
  • Gratitude journal 3 things each day
  • Be purposefully optimistic, focus only on positives of situation
  • Laughter

Decreases stress and improves immune system

Take this quiz on resilience

OPTIMISM and Resilience go hand-in-hand

Optimism is the ability to think positively about the future and your own personal ability to change negative situations to improve them

According to Harvard  the benefits of optimistic thinking are many

Studies show optimistic viewpoints help patients deal better with disease and to recover more quickly and fully from surgery!

Enjoy longer, healthier lives! Research shows better health and lower rates of death in follow-up of periods from 15 to 40 years

A study of 2,564 people 65+ determined optimistic emotions correlated to B/P, people with optimism had lower B/P than negative. The higher the optimism, the better the B/P

Over a 4 year period, highly pessimistic were 3x more likely to develop HTN

Take this Optimism QUIZ


Do you view most things as your fault?

Do you have an “all or nothing” thinking?

Do problems become catastrophes?

Are you a perfectionist?

Do you have a hard time accepting compliments?

Do you seek the approval and opinion of others before acting?

Do you tend to over-generalize?

Do you focus on the negative minutiae?

Retrieved from


If you had 4 or more YES answers you are more pessimistic than optimistic

Pessimists tend to expect things to be worse than they are

Think in terms of Always or Never

Often feel a victim of circumstance

Have trouble invisioning their future as better than today

Other ways to fight stress

Boost your overall health

Exercise regularly (with your doctors’ guidance!) Fibro Friends, please go extremely cautiously. Fibro Flare is a real thing!!! Post-workout malaise can hit from hours to two days post workout.

Good sleep hygiene

Eating healthy and/or Anti-inflammatory eating

NEXT UPCOMING MEETING:  March, to be determined. Please check back to the HOME page for update soon

ICE BREAKER QUESTION:  What are you interested in that most people haven't heard of or are not into?