Yesterday on NPR an economist offered this line of poetic wisdom:
“Optimism is the medicine that will heal the economy.”
I couldn’t agree more! And the fun thing about truth, is that it’s usually portable…meaning that something that is true in one domain–like say the economy–is also true in another–like say mental health.
The power of expectations is one that has been written about exhaustively, so I’ll try not to bore you too much here.
But I will say this: those who expect recovery usually get it. There are even folks who go so far as to protest “medical hexing” by doctors who tell terminal patients the truth: that they are terminal. “This makes them give up!” they say. (Note: I am not one of those folks. If a person needs to get their affairs in order I think it’s a good thing to know).
All this is not to engage in victim blaming or to suggest that someone who develops cancer somehow created it or that depressed people need to buck up and quit whining. Rather, there is a certain amount of muck of life requires cleaning up—let’s call it our MQ, or Muck Quotient—and consciously cultivating an optimistic relationship with our clean-up efforts can make the difference between overwhelming, futile struggle followed by death OR focused bursts of work followed by a leisurely lounge in the hammock.
I’ll take the hammock, please!