By Dr Irwin Lim
My mother-in-law is the most optimistic person I have met. She always sees the brighter side of life even when clouds are overhead and the cliff edge is close. Her glass is always half full. I think this helps her cope amazingly well but I fear that it also means a blinkered view of life.
I am, for better or worse, a glass half empty-type of person. I seem to include the worse case scenario in my decision making.
Optimism vs Pessimism.
In coping with a chronic disease, which is a better personality trait?
Is being positive about the health situation, even if that positivity leads to unrealistic expectations, a useful coping mechanism? Does having faith in a positive outcome help recovery or influence the eventual outcome?
Being negative would seem to be a bad character trait when it comes to dealing with a chronic disease. But, is it? By considering a poor outcome, will a patient be driven to be more compliant with treatment or to be more open to difficult lifestyle changes?
Some middle ground with a balanced approach is likely to be better.
I'd really be interested in your views.Dr Irwin Lim is a rheumatologist and a director of BJC Health. You should follow him on twitter here. Arthritis requires an integrated approach. We call this, Connected Care. Contact us.