Duke University studied 2,800 patients with heart disease over 15 years, and the results showed that those who had more optomistic views had a 30 percent greater survival rate after 15 years as opposed to those with pessimistic outlooks.
The study shows that attitude and personal beliefs can have a positive impace on survivability of those who are sick, and can not only help sick patients get better faster, but to live longer. likewise, the study also showed that those with optimistic outlooks were also more likely to return to normal lifestyles.
John Barefoot, professor emeritus at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, said that he is not sure why this would be, yet he had two theories:
1. People with positive outlooks are better at coping with their illness. So they will, for example, be better able to focus on their coping process and solve problems. They're less likely to give up. They'll try to solve the problems rather than just worry about it.
2. People with positive expectations may have less of a stress reaction physiologically than people with stress. For example, people who are more optimistic have better exercise habits.
More studies will be needed in this regard, however these results might encourage doctors to find ways of helping patients with negative outlooks. Some ideas might be:
- Relaxation techniques
- Mental health counseling
- Religious intervention