Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Impact of a Positive Outlook on the Fight against Cancer

In addition to honoring my passion for golf by integrating the sport into so much of what I write, I have chosen to use my novels to address some difficult and emotional issues that many of us must face at some point in our lives. Divorce, death, job loss, addiction ... no topic is off-limits when it comes to the development of the characters who spend their time at the Prairie Winds Golf Course.

In my second book, Finish Line, I share the story of Curt Schroeder. Early in the progression of the novel, Curt learns that he has cancer. In the face of this frightening disease, the popular golf course manager shows amazing courage and a will to survive.

Does a positive attitude really make a difference in a person's ability to survive something like cancer?

Researchers at Yale University discovered that people who have an optimistic outlook lived an average of 7.5 years longer than those with a gloomy outlook. But, this statistic is a general one and not conducted specifically for those who are facing a terminal illness.

Instead, a study performed in 2007 shows that while emotional support and a positive outlook may help people with cancer live a better life, it might not necessarily help them live a longer life.

Of course, these are just two examples of hundreds of hours of research that has been completed on the mind-body connection when it comes to our long-term health. I'm sure that many of you can provide examples from your own lives, and I would like to hear your stories.

How has the mindset of you or someone you love affected the fight against a disease that was trying to take control over both the quality and quantity of life?

1 comment:

Donna B. Russell said...

This post really resonates with me because, for twenty years, I have lived with three chronic illnesses for which there are no cures. After the initial emotional upheaval, I realized that although my life was different, it was far from over. Attitude definitely impacts the quality of life. So, I either find new ways of doing things or, if there is something I really can no longer do, I find something I CAN do. Life is what you make of it. I choose to make it an adventure. Thanks for your post, James. Glad to have met you through the blog chain. -- Donna