I recently did an interview where I was asked whether or not I saw a difference in outcomes in patients based on their disposition or feelings regarding their diagnosis. Anecdotally, I often do see a difference. I’m not a psychiatrist and I’m certainly not walking in their shoes, but my patients that exude positivity do seem to do better. It can be broken down even further; patients with support systems do better, patients that seem to have acceptance of their diagnosis seem to do better. That being said, I’m empathetic to anyone with the diagnosis of cancer and I understand that there has to be a range of emotions that can be expected at such a time.
The benefits of positivity are far reaching and have been well documented. However, I think because positivity is such a simple concept, it is often overlooked or underappreciated.
Positive psychology has been applied to all walks of life and business with consistent results. Training the mind to see the positive takes practice but for some people, it comes naturally, even in the face of adversity. Having positive relationships for support helps those facing adversity bounce back faster. So while my interview question dealt specifically with the recovery of breast cancer patients, I think the question is a life lesson. While not everyone will have an effortless sunny disposition, the benefits of staying positive can potentially save your life.