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Study highlights the medical benefits of a positive attitude in recovering from illness

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People who have a positive outlook on life and can put on a brave face during adversity are better able to bounce back from illness, a new study suggests.

Research at Bangor University, 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.

Dr Gill Windle, who led the research, 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.  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, published in the Journal of Happiness Studies.

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