Shelley Fields, psychotherapy, psychotherapist, Counselor, Chapel Hill, Pittsboro  
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Some people feel despair when first receiving a serious diagnosis and think they will never again be happy. This is not true.

According to an article in The Journal of Experimental Psychology, a recent study has shown that many ill and disabled people are just as happy as those in good health. This is more evidence that people have enormous resilience of spirit and can adapt to their circumstances.

This study was done with 49 pairs of people: half were kidney-failure patients receiving dialysis, and the others were healthy people. They used handheld personal digital assistants and their moods were recorded every few hours for a week.

These recordings indicated that the patients were in good moods most of the time and that their moods were not substantially worse than those of healthy people. According to the authors of the study, people adapt emotionally to serious adversity, such as end-stage kidney failure. It is assumed by people who haven't had that kind of adversity that it would destroy their happiness, when it is likely that it wouldn't. People are more resilient than they think they can be.

Other studies have shown that hope and good attitude promote better health. In my experience, most people's defenses are initially weakened when their health deteriorates and they can benefit from support in building and refining those coping skills. Psychotherapy is a useful way to help develop those skills.