By SIMON CROMPTON Last updated at 10:30 PM on 2nd January 2012:
Try to stay positive . . . it’s become a common call to those who are ill as the belief has grown that having a positive attitude will not only help you get through illness, but make you better quicker.
But is it true? In fact, there’s no evidence that teaching yourself to have a positive attitude makes you physically healthier. A recent study of cancer patients in Finland and Sweden found no association between survival rates and whether people were positive or negative in their outlook.
The study, in the American Journal Of Epidemiology, looked at 4,600 people with cancer over 30 years, and found that whether they were extrovert or neurotic, their attitude to life had no relationship with how long they survived their illness.
It’s not an isolated finding. An analysis of research by Dr James Coyne, professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, found that there were no good quality studies showing that ‘positive psychology’ had any effect on physical health.
In one of his own large studies, he found that the sense of emotional wellbeing of cancer patients had no effect on how long they lived.
British researchers and health staff are becoming concerned that American lifestyle gurus who urge us to ‘be positive and live longer’ may be doing more harm than good. Read more>>