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Happy thoughts aren’t what come to mind when pain and stiffness are dragging you down, but forcing them into focus may help ease your pain.
Optimism counteracts sadness and fear – feelings that can heighten pain perception, says Burel Goodin, PhD, a psychologist and anesthesiologist at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, who researches the link between pain and optimism. Because optimists believe their situations can improve, they are more likely to eat healthfully, exercise regularly and take other actions that lead to better health and less pain, he says.
Not feeling very upbeat? Take these steps to act your way to optimism.