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
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.