What if I told you that you could change the future just by believing? Sounds like a hoax? No, I am not trying to recruit you for some sort of religious movement, I am simply speaking of optimism. Do you believe in optimism? Unless you are sitting at a poker table, having optimistic attitudes results in only benefits. Optimists do not just tend to be happier and more satisfied with life, they also show lower pain intensity and recover better after surgery. A study conducted by Ronaldson et al. showed that optimistic attitudes had a significant effect on patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery. For their study, optimism was assessed pre-operatively on 197 individuals and then again six to eight weeks after the operation. The results showed that greater optimism pre-operatively was associated with significantly fewer physical symptoms and lower pain intensity following surgery while pessimism was associated with higher pain intensity six to eight weeks after surgery. This is one of many studies that show the physiological benefits of a positive mental attitude. Other studies show similar effects for breast cancer, lung cancer, bone marrow transplant and traumatic brain injury. Are you a believer?
Ronaldson, A., Poole, L., Kidd, T., Leigh, E., Jahangiri, M., & Steptoe, A. (2014). Optimism measured pre-operatively is associated with reduced pain intensity and physical symptom reporting after coronary artery bypass graft surgery. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 77(4), 278–282. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychores.2014.07.018