You’ve met them: People that never seem to have a bad day. You want to have a little of what they have. The question is: Does having a positive outcome play a role in your recovery?
Clinically-relevant distress is present in as much as 50% of patients post-diagnosis, be it cancer, neurologic disease or cardiovascular illness.
Stress can disrupt circadian rhythms, (your sleep cycle) and favor inflammation initiation and disease progression. What does this have to do with a positive outlook?
While patients with a positive outlook don’t necessarily have higher survivals rates or improved health outcomes, it has been shown that patients with a negative outlook have poorer health scores, slower recovery times and a higher percentage for complications.
While a high fighting spirit confers no survival advantage, in patients who were disease-free at five years, their baseline helpless/hopeless response still exerted a significant effect on disease-free survival beyond five (and up to 10) years.
Psychosocial factors, especially stress, chronic depression and feelings of isolation, are risk factors for poor disease recovery. Chronically negative affect, demonstrated by depressed or hopeless mood, including pessimism appears to have a stronger relationship with outcomes, than do the stressful event itself.
It seems reasonable, if not prudent, to have one of the spokes in the wheel of your healthcare approach to include stress and emotional support.