Keep a stiff upper lip when facing ill-health

 People who can put on a brave face during adversity are better able to bounce back from illness, according to research conducted at Bangor University.

A positive outlook on life that fosters a sense of resilience could help you bounce back from the challenges of ill-health. 

Research examining how people respond to the various challenges of the ageing
process, found that psychological resilience is the key for maintaining mental well-being when dealing with serious complaints such as arthritis, diabetes and heart conditions in later life.

The study of Britons aged 50 to 90 found that those with resilient personalities felt better despite their various aches and pains.

Unfortunately, this inner strength takes years to develop and cannot be turned on overnight, according to Dr Gill Windle who led the research at Bangor University’s Institute for Medical and Social Care Research, where she is a research fellow at the Dementia Services Development Centre Wales.

She said: “Resilience is the key but it’s probably something which builds up over a lifetime – in some cases because of experiences in childhood.”

Older people are more likely to suffer poor health but tended not to grumble about it.

Other research has established that, with positive thinking, the body works faster and the healing processes become much more effective by easing the symptoms via placebos.

Dr Windle added: “Even though they may be suffering, older people are likely to say ‘Oh, I’m all right’.”

The research was reported in a paper: Living with ill-health in     older age:     the role of a resilient personality. Windle, G., Woods, B., & Markland, D.A.  in the Journal of Happiness Studies, 11,763–777 (2010).


Publication date: 6 January 2011