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How to Cultivate a Hopeful Mindset using Maybe

A diagnosis of Common Variable Immune Deficiency (CVID) can take down a once hopeful mindset in one fell swoop. However, you can use this easy Maybe Technique to cultivate hope once again.

Recently, a CVID Zebra I mentor was sharing with me that she was having some anxious feelings about going to a social event. She used to attend this event annually before her diagnosis (and COVID) and she knew most of the people who would be in attendance. Before the event, she was noticing self-critical thoughts such as “I am not very interesting anymore…they might not like me anymore…and what if they act awkward around me now that I have CVID?”

Now, what I know to be true about this Zebra is that she is super interesting and everyone seems to like her. While some of her friends she hasn’t seen in a while may act a little awkward at first, my bet was that she could put them at ease with her humorous personality.

I encouraged her to try something new before the event and it really helped her re-frame her thinking – she said to herself “maybe I am interesting….maybe they will like me…maybe they will feel awkward at first but I can help them feel at ease.” She noticed the anxious feelings lessen and she enjoyed the event more than she thought she would. 

There is Power in the Word Maybe

Try adding the word “maybe” to your thoughts this week:

  • I’m not going to do very well because I’m not at my best – maybe I will.
  • I’m not strong enough to do SCIG every week for the rest of my life – maybe I am. 
  • This IVIG infusion is going to be miserable – maybe it won’t be. 
  • I have no value to add now that I have CVID – maybe I do.
  • That was a horrible decision to attend that event – maybe it wasn’t. 
  • I can’t figure out my purpose now that I have CVID – maybe I can. 
  • I’m not a good friend because I’m always ill – maybe I am.
  • I’m going to fail because I can’t perform like I used to before my diagnosis – maybe I won’t.
  • I’m not the right size anymore because I’ve lost/gained weight since my diagnosis – maybe I am.
  • It is too late for me to succeed in my life – maybe it isn’t.
  • I can barely cope, how can I help anyone else – maybe I can. 
  • My dreams aren’t going to happen now – maybe they will.
  • I won’t be chosen for that job I want now that I have CVID – maybe I will. 
  • I am afraid I get even more sick – maybe my treatment(s) will make me feel better than I ever have before. 
  • IVIG or SCIG will hurt – maybe it won’t hurt that much and I’ll learn methods to make it hurt less. 
  • I can’t – maybe I can. 

The Science Behind Maybe

The neuroscience behind this tool is that we feel a dose of hope in our brain when we use the word “maybe.” It brings a sense of possibility and potential. Hope has been widely researched as a feeling that results in a release of dopamine which leads to healing, optimism, and happiness in our psyches.

Hope is the belief that things will get better than they are right now. Hope comes very naturally to some of our brains and takes a little more effort for some of us. 

Hope is the belief that the future will be better than the present, along with the belief that you have the power to make it so, Dr. Shane Lopez, senior scientist at Gallup Click To Tweet

Dr. Lopez is uncovering amazing new research showing that not only is hope good for your wellbeing, but it’s a measurable quality that can be increased with practice. His new book, Making Hope Happen, discusses the science behind hope and describes practical ways to improve your wellbeing by nurturing a positive, active approach to live. Click here to watch an interview with Dr. Lopez about his new research on hope.

Practice challenging yourself to flip your thoughts into a “maybe….” statement of the opposite sentiment. Challenge your brain when it tries to tell you something negative. Instead, use Maybe to change your mindset and cope with CVID.

Hope matters. Hope is a choice. Hope can be learned. Hope is contagious.

Here’s to Maybe

Susan Alynne CVID Signature

Though DIVA as she may be, her path to success was not easy and is always evolving. Go here to read about her journey in “Becoming the CVIDiva.” If you want to send Susan Alynne a quick message, then visit her contact page here.