Undoubtedly it’s difficult to keep a positive attitude when you’re facing a life-threatening disease, but, based on a variety of medical studies, doing so may mean the difference between living and dying.
For example, in 1989, Dr. David Spiegel of Stanford University conducted a study on 86 women with late stage breast cancer. Half of those women received standard medical care while the other half were given weekly support sessions in addition to the standard medical care. During the sessions the women shared their feelings, talked with other patients, and generally had a positive outlet where they could cope with their illness. At the end of the study, the women in the support group lived twice as long as those not in the group. In 1999, a similar study found that cancer patients who have feelings of helplessness and hopelessness have a lower chance of survival.
In recent years, David Seidler, writer of “The King’s Speech,” claimed to have eliminated his cancer through meditation and imagination. After battling bladder cancer for years and only two weeks away from surgery, Seidler decided to see if he could get rid of the cancer through his imagination. He admittedly thought the idea was a little “woo-woo,” but by that point he figured he had nothing to lose. So, he spent the two weeks leading up to his surgery envisioning a clean, cream-colored, healthy bladder. When Seidler went in for his pre-surgery biopsy, the doctor was stunned to find a distinct lack of cancer – he even sent the biopsy to four different labs for testing. While Seidler believes his visualization were behind the cancer’s disappearance, his doctor labeled it a “spontaneous remission.”