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A Fighting Spirit Won't Save Your Life

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Dr. Sloan's piece A Fighting Spirit Won't Save Your Life, that recently ran in The Opinion Pages of the New York Times, calls into question our belief that we can affect our health through optimism and positive thinking. He says:

"It's true that in some respects we do have control over our health. By exercising, eating nutritious foods and not smoking, we reduce our risk of heart disease and cancer. But the belief that a fighting spirit helps us to recover from injury or illness goes beyond healthful behavior. It reflects the persistent view that personality or a way of thinking can raise or reduce the likelihood of illness"

Richard Sloan is the husband of CFAH President and Founder, Jessie Gruman. ' 

More Blog Posts by Richard Sloan

author bio

Richard P. Sloan, PhD is Nathaniel Wharton Professor of Behavioral Medicine in the Department of Psychiatry at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University.  He also is Chief of the Division of Behavioral Medicine at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and Director of the Behavioral Medicine Program at Columbia University Medical Center in New York. His work focuses on identifying the mechanisms linking psychological risk factors such as depression, hostility, and anxiety to heart disease.


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Evidence-Based Medicine   Richard Sloan   Promote your Health   Inside Healthcare  


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