Optimists have lower pain sensitivity

Optimists appear to tolerate pain better than pessimists, an old discovery that is supported by a new study published in The Journal of Pain. The study by researchers at the Universities of Florida and Alabama involved 140 older individuals with osteoarthritis. They were subjected to experimental pain (heat was repeatedly applied to the forearm) and also had a variety of psychological tests. Those elderly who were judged to be optimists (based on an established and validated test) had lower pain perception. The study also showed that optimism was associated with lower levels of catastrophizing. Catastrophizing was also measured by validated scale, which includes questions such as “I feel it is never going to get better” and “I can’t stand it anymore”. The good news is that studies have shown that cognitive-behavioral therapy can reduce catastrophizing and improve pain. So, if you are a pessimist, do not give up – see a psychologist and your pain may be easier to control.

Photo credit: JulieMauskop.com

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