General Session Will Retrain Your Brain to Focus on Positive

Alison Ledgerwood, PhD

Alison Ledgerwood, PhD

Start your morning on a positive note by attending today’s General Session presentation “Why Negativity Sticks and What to Do about It” starting at 7:30 am in Exhibit Hall F.

Alison Ledgerwood, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychology, University of California, Davis, will leverage recent research to help diabetes educators understand some of the key psychological factors behind the burnout that educators and patients can both experience and suggest some evidence-based coping strategies for combating burnout and promoting resilience.

“Behavioral science research shows that often, it’s easier for people to think of the proverbial glass as half empty instead of half full,” said Dr. Ledgerwood. “That means it’s easy for us to focus on negatives, but we have to work harder to see positives.”

This tendency for our minds to tilt toward the negative has important consequences for understanding how people react in the face of stress and negative events, including a diabetes or prediabetes diagnosis. Dr. Ledgerwood said that the good news is that we can also retrain our brains—if we put some effort into it—so that we start to weigh the good and the bad a little more evenhandedly.

She will describe some evidence-based techniques for “retraining your brain” to focus more on positives and how the words you use help you to connect with patients and motivate them to engage in important health behaviors.

“I’ll talk about how diabetes educators can choose language that helps motivate patients to pursue important health goals,” she said, adding that she’ll provide tips for helping patients avoid diabetes burnout and strategies for promoting resilience and well-being among educators.

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