As caregivers we sometimes encounter feelings of negativity, such as resentment, hate, anger or even fear. We might even experience mixed feelings bouncing back and forth from a negative to a positive. Most of us don’t like to admit that we can have these feelings, which may be provoked, by other individuals or situations.

What are some of your negative emotions that you are conscious of?

What are some of the reasons for your negative emotions?

Can you get in touch with some of your feelings of inadequacy, of inferiority and even fear it self, or fear of the unknown?

Many of us are quick to judge or find fault with others. We may focus on the negative conditions while others are able to look at situations in a more positive light. Those who can search for the positives in situations search for options or choices. They don’t allow themselves to get stuck.

Are you more negative or more positive most of the time? What percentage of each would you consider yourself to be?

We all have the power to change ourselves. It is only a matter of looking at ourselves by examining our attitudes and desires. Then we can make a conscientious choice to help ourselves. Time heals and before we know it we have built new attitudes of love, compassion and understanding. As long as we are aware of our own attitudes and are willing to change what we don’t like, change can and will occur.

Many times we might lose patience or become frustrated. Sometimes we want another person to change; possibly the loved one we are caring for. We cannot change anyone but ourselves.

As caregivers we must also learn to remain focused with the bigger picture of the process. We must have patience and we must learn to listen and not to react to what others say all the time. Those we react to may have difficulty in expressing themselves or they might use words that push our buttons. We must not let ourselves be distracted and work towards maintaining peace from within ourselves.

An exercise you can practice is to take a negative attribute and find it’s positive aspect. Write it down on a post it note and place it in an area such as the bathroom window, on the phone or in someplace where you are reminded by the new attitude several times throughout the day. When you see it, smile at yourself nurturingly, maybe even laugh, and know that you have chosen to change this attitude and the change is already in action. Try it!!!!

Copyrighted by Gail R. Mitchell 12/98


  • Ms. Mitchell began her full-time caregiving experience in the early eighties when her husband was diagnosed with cancer. Later on she became the primary caregiver for her father, along with her mother who had become critically ill from burnout prior to her dad’s passing. In recent years, she cared for several friends with AIDS while continuing to care for her mother and actively providing support, information, referrals and resources for caregivers.

    Gail's leadership on the Internet and her success with Empowering Caregivers led her to found National Organization For Empowering Caregivers (NOFEC) INC in 2001.

    Prior to founding NOFEC, she created the iVillageHealth Chat: Empowering Caregivers, which she hosted for over 5 years. Within a month of hosting she created Empowering Caregivers: in 1999 as a resource for caregivers around the globe. Over three million visitors have frequented the website.

    She has presented at national and international care-related conferences and programs and has been a keynote speaker for many programs as well.

    Ms Mitchell has assisted thousands of caregivers online and offline in ways to empower themselves in their roles in caring for loved ones.

    For a list of clients and/or her resume, please contact

    Gail's articles have been published in many venues nationally and in Canada. Presently, she is a member of American Society on Aging and National Quality Caregivers Coalition.

    Gail has discovered that there is life after caregiving: She has become a successful ceramic artist and installation artist. She created Crystal Illumination Art to bring the transformative quality of illumination, light and color to the human experience and celebrate its ability to inspire, heal and nourish our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well being.