Another good reason for women to be happy

September 3, 2008

As I cast a damper on women’s consumption of orange juice recently, I thought I would redress the balance by promoting the real health benefits of optimism for women who want to avoid breast cancer.

A study at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel has found that women who are happy and optimistic appear to be less likely to get breast cancer than their gloomier counterparts. Also, women who had experienced more than one major tragedy in their lives, such as the death of a close family member or a serious illness, were significantly more likely to have the disease.

The researchers were able to conclude that experiencing more than one meaningful life event (severe and/or mild to moderate) is a risk factor for breast cancer among young women and that general feelings of happiness and optimism can play a protective role against the disease.

This points up yet again the importance of the relationship between happiness and health for all of us. Indeed, some previous studies have suggested a link between stressful life events, psychological distress, and cancer. It is believed by many therapists that psychological stress may contribute to an increase in cancer by modifying cell responses to environmental factors, but it is still unproven.

We already know that an optimistic outlook can actually increase your lifespan, and now it seems it can protect you against one of our most feared diseases.


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