The study conducted by the university of Malaga, focuses on the effect the mental state has on the physical state of breast cancer patients. Real life examples are taken into study by experts in the psychological field.
The University of Malaga conducted a study linking patients’ psychological wellbeing to emotional management and a positive mindset.
Positive Stimuli and Breast Cancer Patients
This is a real story of a woman who has faced many challenges throughout her life. She lost both her mother and grandmother due to cancer, her father due to diabetes, she went through a divorce, and moved to a new country far away from home with her two children. She took her circumstances as a lesson and learned to face her problems in order to move forward.
After noticing something strange in her chest she went for a check-up and was eventually diagnosed with breast cancer. She immediately shifted her mindset from panic to acceptance, she started being aware of her cancer and decided to find a solution and to fight it. Her journey was difficult and there were bad days where she felt down, but she continued to focus on what was important in order to continue enjoying life.
She believed that having cancer did not have to mean anxiety, depression, or sadness. She focused on her family, spending time with her friends, getting better and she never lost hope. What enabled her to do so was holding onto life and doing things she enjoyed the most. She is an example and inspiration for many cancer patients that are struggling. After finishing her treatment she is having regular check-ups.
Is it possible to maintain a positive attitude even though you suffer from breast cancer?
The team that was investigating this topic at the University of Malaga for a year and a half, has come to the conclusion that it is possible to be happy while dealing with breast cancer. The question is how it is possible to go through cancer with a positive attitude?
“Women with this type of cancer tend to experience positive emotions, they expect good results in life and they are hopeful. They find a purpose in it and they also regulate their own emotions well,” says María C., a Social Psychology lecturer at the university and lead author of this study.
It is not easy to maintain a positive attitude when being diagnosed with cancer but it is not impossible, and it can significantly improve physical health, such as the example of the woman mentioned in this study.
Is the glass half-full or half-empty?
It is important to note that the way of handling a situation depends on each individual , their personal experiences, their past and their environment. These aspects play a role in how a person can handle an issue at any given moment in their lives.
“Objectively, two people can be in exactly the same situation but each of them will interpret it in a different way, depending on a series of variables (self-esteem, emotional wellbeing, resilience, emotional intelligence and optimism), which need to be worked on from childhood. They either see a glass as being half-full or half-empty, as a result of their previous life experiences,” says María C.
The project was carried out with the use of an international research instrument created in 1985, the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS) which measures cognitive well being and life satisfaction.* This ‘SWLS’ reference determines that 24.1 is the average measure of satisfaction with life, while 27.1 is the average score in cancer patients. However, the figure drops slightly in the case of women with breast cancer, where the measurement is 22.14.
Lecturer María C., believes that the values are still good, considering that breast cancer is not like other types of cancer because it has a certain impact on an external and visible part of the body, which has a cultural and sexual implication among others.
A total of 222 women from ASAMMA association (an association supporting women who have had breast surgery in Malaga) were analyzed in collaboration with this study. Half of them had been recently diagnosed and were undergoing treatment, the remaining 50.5% were cancer survivors.
The Bottom Line
Multiple studies have been carried out to showcase the importance of mental health and how it affects physical health. In conclusion, a healthy mind contributes to a healthy body.
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1. Positive psychology and breast cancer/ SUR in English
*Names not mentioned for privacy reasons