You may or may not have heard of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, but you should have. The illness affects more than one million people and is more common than lupus, multiple sclerosis and some cancers, in the United States. It is not age discriminatory (though more likely to occur in adults than children) nor prevalent in some races more than others, as diseases like diabetes or skin cancer, which unequally affect African-Americans and Caucasians, respectively. So, it something on which everyone should be educated.
Among the known symptoms of the disease are fatigue–as suggested by the name–joint pain, stomach pain, sore throat, insomnia as well as poor memory and concentration. Because of the range of issues, the disease was once dismissed as just a flu, despite being diagnosed as early as the 19th century. Still, not much is known about the disease, particularly there is no one-time cure nor vaccination. However, a recent study published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal has produced promising news for those affected.
The 2-year study included 481 participants and four treatments, by which doctors determined how patients responded and overall effectiveness. What the findings revealed is that neither standard medical treatment nor adaptive therapy, which seeks to help patients adapt to their condition, showed significant improvements in the symptoms experienced by patients. However positive thinking (believing that symptoms could get better, rather than merely accepting them or thinking negatively about them) coupled with exercise proved most beneficial.
One of the study’s researchers, Professor Sharpe had this to say about the findings: “It’s wrong to say people don’t want to get better, but they get locked into a pattern and their life constricts around what they can do. If you live within your limits that becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy.” The research expresses clearly that the issue is physical rather than one of mental health, however, changing the course of thoughts from doom to possibility was, in fact helpful, and even allowed participants to perform exercise, which was previously thought by many of them to exacerbate the issue rather than help.
I’m certainly glad that more people are seeing the benefits of positive thinking, not just as form of meditation, but as a serious step toward holistic health and wellness, even for chronic illness. Perhaps, not as the only form of medication, but certainly as an aid, as shown with this study. The motivation to adhere to treatment or the move toward progress indeed starts with even believing that such could work. Even when not directly correlated as in this example, mental health should be as much a goal as that of the physical. Positive thinking is good for living, positively.