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An Optimistic Attitude Might Help Soldiers Protect Themselves From Ev­­­­er Experiencing Chronic Pain

War is a harrowing experience that often leads to a slew of mental disorders, sleepless nights, scary dreams, and chronic pain. But in a recent study, it was observed that soldiers who remained optimistic while they were posted in Afghanistan or Iraq, didn’t suffer from chronic pain. On the other hand, soldiers who were not as hopeful and showed pessimism tended to complain about chronic pain and high blood pressure more often.

Pessimism and its consequences

A study team reported that soldiers of the U.S Army with a more pessimistic behavior had back pain, pain in the joints, and regular headaches after their return from deployment. It is necessary to stay optimistic whether you are on a battleground, in combat, or a safe zone. Personal injuries can expose the pessimistic side of any person, but pessimism also has far more consequences if the person loses hope and doesn’t look at the brighter side anymore.

The power of having an optimistic approach

Afton Hassett, an associate research scientist at the University of Michigan, reported that they studied the demographic factors such as rank, marital status, education, and whether the person was an officer or an enlisted soldier. By doing that, they learned that the people who stayed optimistic during their deployment were more confident than others and didn’t suffer from any post-war trauma.

We look at positive behavior as an innate ability of someone. Yet, through technological advancement and modern research, this attitude can be modified by undergoing some therapy sessions.

Can you recover from a pessimistic attitude?

We cannot blame others for being pessimistic, but we can identify them in our lines and help them with some pre-deployment programs. It is now possible through cognitive behavior therapy to show people a more optimistic view of the world so that they can finally lose their negative thoughts and start working towards a better, more productive behavior.

Most of the pessimism comes from negative and false beliefs. If we can get into a person’s childhood and how they were brought up, we can motivate them to think differently.

The figures

Among 20,734 soldiers who were surveyed, 37% of them complained about pain in a new part of their body after deployment. A five scaled questionnaire form was provided to every soldier to check their level of optimism in several cases. One situational example given was whether or not they would still see the positive in a combat zone.

Researchers also included the level of combat intensity in their questionnaires and further asked to answer five traumatic events that occurred during their deployment.

Hope for the future

The study’s main focus was to look at the development of chronic pain among soldiers during deployment. But aside from that, they discovered that many experience pain in other parts of their bodies as well. As pessimism can be optimized to optimism, there is hope that our soldiers will come back home with no permanent injuries and sound mental health, leaving chronic pain behind.

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