How to Be an Empowered Patient

By Diana Chaplin May 2, 2014

I sincerely hope that you are in such great health that you rarely ever need to see a doctor. But if you’re like me and experience some health condition for which medical support is necessary, then you’ll probably relate to the feeling of frustration often entailed in dealing with the medical establishment.

Here are some general problems with the status quo that I’ve come across:

– Structural disorganization/miscommunication between doctors & patient
– Little time to devote to you
– Focus on eliminating symptoms as opposed to addressing the root cause
– The belief that the doctor knows your body better than you do
– Pharmaceuticals are the first remedy, as opposed to a last resort
– Psychological bullying to invoke fear instead of confidence
– Ongoing disease management is more profitable than prevention & healing

Is this what our health care system has resorted to?

Sadly, yes. But you’re far from powerless when it comes to demanding the authentic quality care you deserve!

Here are 5 ways that you can empower yourself as a patient and seeker of health & happiness:

1. Ask questions & understand. Don’t simply accept what your doctor tells you and follow directions blindly, make sure that you truly understand why they are recommending a particular course of action and that it makes sense for you. Sometimes stating your hesitations about something or simply asking for more information will motivate your doctor to look deeper and offer more alternatives.
2. Love and trust your doc. Always remember that your doctor works for you and not the other way around. If you’re unhappy or feel uncomfortable with your doctor for any reason then tell them how you feel to see if that changes anything, and then invest the energy in finding someone who is a better fit for you. Having positive interactions with your doctor will alleviate the stress of seeing them and support the overall healing process via a more nourishing relationships and the production of your own self-healing endorphins.
3. Create a circle of support. No matter how mild or serious your condition, it helps to have a team of people to support your healing process. That could mean a doctor you see every few months for routine blood tests and check-ups, a Health Coach (like me!) to keep you motivated and inspired to maintain an ongoing healthy diet and lifestyle, a massage therapist to reduce stress, perhaps a fitness trainer, plus of course your loving family and friends. The combination of all of these wonderful people striving towards the same goal of helping you feel better will make for an unstoppable force of healing.
4. Track your progress. Stay organized in your health management by saving copies of blood test results, personal notes about the changes you’ve made, names and addresses for the healers or doctors you’ve worked with, etc. Keep it all together in one special folder and be mindful of the gradual improvements you’ve made, and more importantly of the things that are actually working! This will truly help if you need to switch doctors, someone loses your file, or you want to look through your own medical history in the future.
5. Think positive. Ample research now supports the fact that your mind has an incredible influence over your body, and can either boost or hinder your body’s natural ability to self-heal. While simply believing that you will get better may not always be enough to recover from a health condition, it will undoubtedly aid all of the other efforts you’re making and help them work better. Take all your fears, frustrations, and doubts about recovery (even the ones that came from your pessimistic – I mean, um, “realistic” doctors) and put them into an imaginary sack. Now visualize waving that sack out the window where all these negative thoughts and feelings turn into beautiful birds flying towards the heavens. From this moment, be unequivocally convinced and confident in the fact that health and happiness is yours. Keep it up and you’ll transform your health in no time!

Have you ever struggled with your sense of power as a patient?

*This post was originally published on Diana’s site, Living Body Wellness. For more from Diana be sure to visit

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