New evidence is showing that feeling happy and optimistic plays a positive role in protecting women against breast cancer. Research published in BMC Cancer suggests that while staying positive has a protective role, adverse life events such as the loss of a parent, divorce or death of a spouse can increase a woman's risk of developing the disease.
Ronit Peled from the Faculty of Health Sciences at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel, led a team of researchers who questioned 255 women with breast cancer about their life experiences and evaluated their levels of happiness, optimism, anxiety and depression prior to diagnosis. Peled said, "Young women who have been exposed to a number of negative life events should be considered an 'at-risk' group for breast cancer and should be treated accordingly".
The researchers do point out that women were interviewed after their diagnosis, which may color their recall of past emotional states somewhat negatively. However, according to Peled, "We can carefully say that experiencing more than one severe or moderate life event is a risk factor for breast cancer among young women. On the other hand, a general feeling of happiness and optimism can play a protective role".
In my humble opinion, being happy and positive does increase our resistance to all things not wanted, including disease. And, even if all this research is wrong, what's the downside of waking up each morning feeling the joy of being alive?