Why Positive Thinking is a Healthy Idea
by Tracey Pollack
Always seeing the silver lining can be worth its weight in gold. That’s because positive thinking can have positive effects on your life and your health. See, an optimistic outlook offers many important benefits for your body, mind and well-being. Now, positive thinking doesn’t mean merely keeping your head in the clouds or ignoring unpleasant events. It simply means responding to uncomfortable situations in more positive and productive ways. So why does an upbeat attitude seem to be the secret to health? Researchers aren’t quite positive, but they have some bright ideas.
Good Thoughts Lead to Good Health
Numerous studies are proof positive about the benefits of positive thinking on your overall health and longevity. According to the Mayo Clinic, some of the perks of positivity include:
- Longer life span
- Better physical and psychological well-being
- Less stress
- Stronger immunity
- Better cardiovascular health
- Lower rates of depression
- Better coping skills during hardships
- Stronger relationships
Long Live Positive Thinking
Could your attitude be so important that your life actually depends on it? One recent Boston University study found that optimistic people had an 11% to 15% longer life span than negative thinkers. And a 2004 study of people age 65 and older showed that positive individuals lived longer and had a 55% lower risk of death from all diseases than pessimists. Some say it’s because a positive attitude about aging can increase your will to live. As a result, you’re more proactive about staying well and leading a healthy lifestyle. And when health problems do arise, positive thinking helps you deal with any illness by making you more likely to take your medications and less inclined to get depressed.
A Healthier Approach to Stress
A positive attitude can serve you well by helping you better manage stress. When something doesn’t go right, positive thinkers are able to easily deal with the problem and start looking for another solution. In contrast, someone with a negative attitude allows stress to deeply affect them, which causes the body to produce inflammation. Over time, chronic stress can cause an excess of inflammation, which can lead to serious health conditions like heart disease, stroke and cancer. But positive thinking helps you cope with stress much better, which decreases the damaging health effects that stress can have on your body.
A Positive Boost to Your Immunity
Did you know that a healthy attitude can help keep you from getting sick? Research has found that your mind can have a powerful effect on your body. In fact, one landmark study of law students found that those that were optimistic had a much stronger immune response than the pessimistic participants. But when those same upbeat people were feeling less optimistic, their immune system was weaker. Another study showed that the bodies of optimistic people produced more disease-fighting antibodies and were better able to decrease inflammation than those with negative attitudes. This revealed how your outlook can affect your body’s response to illness.
So if you’re one of the lucky people that always sees the glass as half full, you may have a better chance of living a life full of health and happiness.