Many of those who’ve suffered from illness or disease would have received the advice to “stay positive”. Is this sage advice that can truly have a positive effect on health, or an added burden for someone who is already suffering – the need to also feel good about it?
We asked five experts in various fields whether a positive mindset can affect outcomes for those suffering from illness and disease.
However, they had some important caveats. It depends on the disease – for example, one expert said studies in cancer have not found positive thinking affects disease progression or the likelihood of early death.
And while our mental health can have powerful effects on our physical health, the perceived need to “stay positive” can be an added burden during a difficult time. So it’s also important to remember grief is normal.
Here are the experts’ detailed responses:
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Erica Sloan is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Cygnal Therapeutics. Jayashri Kulkarni receives funding from the NHMRC.
Authors: Alexandra Hansen, Chief of Staff, The Conversation