Hope and optimism have an impact on healing.
Medications, diet, and other treatments are prescribed in the traditional practice of medicine, but in recent decades, studies were done to evaluate the effects of hope, optimism, and positive psychological functioning on healing.
The field of Positive Psychology has emerged in 2000. Authors Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi in 2000 have suggested and helped initiate more studies to evaluate the subjective experiences of individuals regarding the past (well-being, contentment, and satisfaction), the present (flow and happiness), and the future (hope and optimism).
Seligman (2008) has called this positive health and correlated it with mental health-positive emotions, engagement, purpose, relationships, and positive achievements. The author added this increases longevity, reduces health care costs, and leads to improvements in mental health in relation to aging and disease prognosis.
Hope and optimism have been defined by these experts as follows:
Snyder et al. (1991): hope is a state of positive motivation based on three components: objectives (goals to be achieved), routes (planning to achieve these goals), and agency (motivation directed toward these objectives).
Kortte et al. (2012): hope represents a patient’s sense of determination to achieve his/her objectives.
Scheier and Carver (1985): optimism is an overall tendency to believe that vivid experiences will lead to good results rather than bad ones.
Carver et al. (2010): to be optimistic is to maintain a generally favorable expectation about the future. There is evidence that optimism motivates the individual to take proactive measures to protect his/her health, while pessimism is associated with behaviors that are adverse to health.
Jerome Groopman, a cancer specialist, in his book “The Anatomy of Hope” discusses the science of hope and offers examples of patients suffering from chronic illnesses. He mentioned that hope and optimism can stimulate the brain to release endorphins and enkephalins which mimic the action of morphine in pain control. He concluded in his book that hope is as vital to our lives as the oxygen we breathe.
Your doctor prescribes medications, diet, exercise, and other treatments to heal ailments.
You do your part by never losing hope and by building up a positive outlook especially during these trying times. Hope that the future will be better and that this pandemic will soon be over.
Hope and optimism are attributes that we can develop, and are within our own control, they come from within.
May the promise of Easter strengthen our hope and optimism, bring about healing in our heart, mind and body during this pandemic.
Happy Easter to everyone.