Recently, Dr. Travis Bradberry, Ph.D., wrote a great blog on LinkenIn called, “9 Things Successful People Won’t Do” and in it he featured tips that can be directly applied to health management.

When patients first enter my clinic in Eugene, many arrive because they are suffering from some form of pain or medical condition that has not previously responded well to allopathic medicine and/or conventional medical therapies. Many patients are frustrated and upset by their condition, and are—understandably—nearing the end of their patience with medical professionals. Often the initial conversation between a patient and myself is one that revolves around frustrations of previous, often unsuccessful, medical care and the disenchantment around the lack of results produced by current healthcare system at large. While these are all important topics to discuss and I would like to continue to provide my office as a safe space to explore such conversations, it is helpful to enlist Dr. Bradberry’s tips to help improve acupuncture therapy. Successful patients—patients who achieve their healing goals with their healthcare practitioner— do the following:

They Won’t Let Anyone Limit Their Joy

Therapy satisfaction and healing are derived from many different areas: the body’s current health state, the medications one is on, nature and history of the illness, genetics, and most importantly the mental state of a patient. A success patient knows that their healing is primarily derived from the way in which they view their disease and the current situation—that is to say, they stay positive about the direction of their therapy, even if it seems to be taking longer than expected. Successful patients don’t compare themselves to other people, or to other times in their lives. Healing is a unique process that is always tied to the unique circumstances of that particular day and injury. While it is often initially satisfying to ask others how their treatments went and what results they received, the successful patient knows that only opinions that really matter are their own and the feelings associated with it. The joy of a successful treatment is a powerful healing tool and should not be limited by any other outside entity.

They Won’t Forget

Successful patients are quick to forgive themselves (and their bodies) of past injuries. Dr. Bradberry states, “Forgiveness requires letting go of what’s happened so that you can move on.” This process of forgiving and moving onward releases the emotional shackles that often prevent patients from truly healing. Successful patients are unwilling to be controlled by their own feelings of mistakes that might have lead to an illness. Rather, the successful patient lets mistakes go quickly, learns from those mistakes, and becomes assertive in protecting themselves from future harm.

They Won’t Die in the Fight

Successful patients know how important it is to live to fight another day. In the progress of illness, unchecked emotion makes you dig your heels in and fight the kind of battle that can leave you severely damaged. Unchecked emotions place unnecessary stress on the immune system and prevent the deeper healing that often needs to take place when working with chronic, recalcitrant conditions. The successful patient manages their emotions in such a way that they are able to choose healthcare battles wisely and only fight when the time is right. This is not to say that successful patients do not fight for the healing process—they do, in fact, fight very hard to heal. However, by being selective and aware of when to exert maximum fighting energy and when to calm down and allow the body to heal without emotional stress is the critical difference which often makes the largest difference between those patients who have profound healing responses and those who become stuck and don’t heal.

They Won’t Prioritize Perfection

Successful patients won’t set perfection as their target goal because they know it doesn’t exist. All patients are fallible, and when perfection is the goal, one is always left with a nagging sense of failure; Patients end up spending time lamenting what healing failed to accomplish instead of enjoying what healing did occur. Taking a step back from the larger goal of ‘complete, painless recover’ and breaking down the process into smaller steps to complete recovery will often reveal just how much healing is actually happening. The successful patient knows how to observe the small progress waypoints, rather than becoming fixated on the end result and being disappointed when they don’t arrive at the end immediately.

They Won’t Live in the Past

Past medical conditions erodes self-confidence and makes it hard to believe a better outcome is possible in the future. In most cases, perceived therapy failure results from taking risks and trying to achieve something that isn’t easy. However, successful patients know that success lies in their ability to rise in the face of failure, and they can’t do this when they’re living in the shadows of their past medical history. Any significant medical milestone worth achieving is going to require one to take some risks, and one can’t allow failure to stop a person from believing in the ability to heal. When a patient lives in the shadows of their medical past, that is exactly what happens; the past medical history becomes the present, preventing future healing The successful patient does not allow the shadows of past medical conditions to prevent future healing successes.

They Won’t Dwell on Problems

The focal point of attention determines emotional state. When a patient fixates on the problems, this creates prolonged, negative emotions and stress, which inhibits the healing process. Successful patients know that when focus is placed on actions to better the circumstances, they create a sense of personal power that produces positive emotions and improves the healing response. Successful patients won’t dwell on problems because they know the most powerful healing response comes from a focal point on solutions and positivity instead of negativity and problems.

They Won’t Hang Around Negative People

Complainers are bad for the healing process because they wallow in their conditions and fail to focus on healthcare solutions. Unsuccessful patients want people to join their melancholic mental so that they can feel better about themselves and lack of progress. Dr. Bradberry states, “people often feel pressure to listen to complainers because they don’t want to be seen as callous or rude, but there’s a fine line between lending a sympathetic ear and getting sucked into their negative emotional spiral. You can avoid getting drawn in only by setting limits and distancing yourself when necessary. Think of it this way: if a person were smoking, would you sit there all afternoon inhaling the second-hand smoke? You’d distance yourself, and you should do the same with complainers. A great way to set limits is to ask complainers how they intend to fix a problem. The complainer will then either quiet down or redirect the conversation in a productive direction.” Successful patients are determined to surround themselves with individuals that are positive and engaged in the healing process.

They Won’t Hold Grudges

Successful patients learn that holding grudges against themselves or their healthcare providers only compounds the challenging healing situation. Again from Dr. Bradberry, “the negative emotions that come with holding onto a grudge are actually a stress response. Just thinking about the event involved sends your body into fight-or-flight mode. When a threat is imminent, this reaction is essential to your survival, but when a threat is ancient history, holding onto that stress wreaks havoc on your body and can have devastating health consequences over time. In fact, researchers at Emory University have shown that holding onto stress contributes to high blood pressure and heart disease. Holding onto a grudge means you’re holding onto stress, and [successful patients] know to avoid this at all costs. Learning to let go of a grudge will not only make you feel better now but can also improve your health.”

They Won’t Say Yes Unless They Really Want To

According Dr. Bradberry, “research conducted at the University of California in San Francisco shows that the more difficulty that you have saying no, the more likely you are to experience stress, burnout, and even depression. Saying no is indeed a major challenge for most people. ‘No’ is a powerful word that you should not be afraid to wield.” Successful patients are very much engaged with their own healthcare, and the ability to have a positive conversation with a healthcare provider about the wishes and desires of treatment empowers successful patients and establishes a pathway for repeated future healing and healthcare successes. Saying ‘No’ to healthcare recommendations, when the recommendations do not seem appropriate to the patient, can be an avenue for gaining personal power that will lead to a greater sense of direction in the healing process.


Nathan J. Heide, M.S., L.Ac.

Mr. Heide is founder and CEO of Anjuna Medicine, LLC in Eugene, Oregon. Anjuna Medicine ( is a private practice, focusing on integrative pain management solutions for chronic and recalcitrant diseases by using traditional East-Asian medical techniques. Mr. Heide is currently a graduate of Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (San Diego) and a current doctoral fellow at Oregon College of Oriental Medicine in Portland, Oregon.

Reference: 9 Things Successful People Won’t Do. Travis Bradberry, Ph.D. Retrieved from, 18AUG14.