How to move forward after a heart attack

Stephen Joseph, Professor in Psychology, Health and Social Care at University of Nottingham

Professor Stephen Joseph, Professor in Psychology, Health and Social Care at University of Nottingham, shares his advice on how to keep moving forward after a life-changing event.

“It can be helpful to look for the positive growth in what has happened. In the midst of upsetting events, we can be overwhelmed by feelings of loss, sadness and fear, so we have to work harder than usual to maintain a hopeful outlook.

The key to developing a positive outlook is the way we talk to ourselves. We can ask ourselves questions:

  • Are there ways in which my relationships with family and friends have been strengthened and deepened in intimacy?
  • Are there ways in which I have found a different perspective on life with new opportunities?
  • Are there things I did to survive what happened that showed me strength within myself that I didn’t know I had?
  • Are there ways in which I have found a greater understanding of life and how to live it?
  • Are there ways in which I am more grateful for what I have? 

“Regularly asking yourself these questions can be helpful.”

Professor Joseph is a senior member of British Psychological Society’s Register of Psychologists and author of the book What Doesn’t Kill Us: a guide to overcoming adversity and moving forward (Piatkus Books).

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