A causal link between optimisim and lowered sensitivity to pain has demonstrated in a novel experiment that involved manipulating university students into a temporary optimisitc state (by writing about and visualising a future best possible self) and subjecting them to a cold pressor test to induc pain (involving the immersion of the non-dominant hand in very cold water).
Induced optimism was significantly related to reduced ratings of pain intensity during the test compared with controls, who had written about and visualised a typical day.
Source: Pain 2013;154:53-8.
- Handling Ibuprofen Increases Pain Tolerance and Decreases Perceived Pain Intensity in a Cold Pressor Test (plosone.org)
- Research explores links between physical and emotional pain relief (eurekalert.org)