There was research released last week that got headlines:
Women who have a positive outlook may decrease their chances of developing breast cancer.
If you have not had breast cancer, or another cancer for that matter you could certainly be excused for thinking that this is fantastic news. I mean really, you’re a happy person, that means you won’t get breast cancer right?
Without even realizing it that is the message that may sink into your subconscious and the reason you may say it to someone else. But before you let that happen listen.
This was a small study. They looked at 255 women with breast cancer and compared their answers in a questionnaire on mental outlook and life events with 367 healthy control subjects.They found that a “generally positive outlook appeared to reduce the chance of breast cancer by a quarter. That sounds great EXCEPT that they asked the women with breast cancer these questions AFTER their cancer diagnosis.
Here is the lesson to learn. After a diagnosis of breast cancer some women feel like their bodies have betrayed them. Some feel as if decisions that they made in the past have come back to haunt them. Simple decisions, they thought, like taking the pill or using hormone replacement for their menopause symptoms.
And their friends and family, colleagues and neighbors want to be able to say something to them to comfort them.
Here’s what to say, “Can I help?”, “What can we do?”, “Wanna go to the movies?”, “Feel up to a cup of coffee?”, “How’s your husband/partner?”, “Wanna go get ice cream?”, “Can I give you a ride?”
The list goes on and on, I think you see what I mean. Any of these is far more helpful and powerful than “Smile, you’re going to be fine.” And, if you say something like that you may actually change her outlook and maybe even make her smile.