Why Optimists Live a Healthier Life
Thinking Positive Improves Health
People with an optimistic outlook on life enjoy a healthier lifestyle thanks to their positive attitude. Scientists have provided plenty of evidence that positive thinking is associated not only with a more cheerful daily existence but also with many health benefits.
Health Benefits of Being an Optimist
Optimists usually enjoy many health benefits:
- Lower depression rate
- Longer lifespan
- Stronger immune system resistance to common viruses, like the cold
- Reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases
- Better coping skills in a time of stress
- Better general psychological and physical well-being
Additionally, optimists have been shown to live a healthier lifestyle, which influences disease and stress levels: they usually smoke less, drink less alcohol, exercise more, and eat more fruit, veggies, and whole grains.
There is a criterion by which you can judge whether the thoughts you are thinking and the things you are doing are right for you. The criterion is: Have they brought you inner peace?— Peace Pilgrim
Optimism Is Not About Denying Problems
Many people are skeptical towards the benefits of living life with a positive-no-matter-what point of view.
Optimists are often described as someone living in La La Land, ignoring or underestimating problems.
However, being an optimist does not mean hiding your head in the sand when a problem arises, in fact, optimists recognize problems as well as pessimists, the difference is the way they react.
When you focus on the positive the way you deal with events, health issues, and problems changes substantially.
Optimists emerge from difficult circumstances with less distress than pessimists because they have more effecting coping strategies.
While pessimists see the problems under a magnifying glass, as huge obstacles, and may get discouraged and scared, optimists have the tendency to take actions to change the negative and usually they don’t let the small stuff bother them.
Putting Positive Thinking Into Practice
I have no idea how to do that.
I can try to figure it out.
I keep messing up.
Every mistake is a learning opportunity.
It’s too hard/complicated.
I’ll break it down into simpler steps.
It would be too embarrassing.
I’ll just be myself.
I can’t afford it.
I can be creative with my resources.
I’m not good at this.
I’ll improve by trying.
No one ever calls me or looks for me.
I’ll see if I can be more accessible and reach out more.
There is no way this will work.
I’ll look at it from a different angle.
I don’t have time for this.
I’ll look at my schedule and re-examine some priorities.
Thinking: the talking of the soul with itself.— Plato
How Our Thoughts Affect our Brain: Health Benefits of Positive Thinking
Our thoughts are capable of influence the way the brain produces hormones, endorphins, and all those good and bad chemicals that determine how we feel and function.
Positive thoughts and good humor create dramatic chemical and physical changes that positively affect our health and well-being.
Happy thoughts can change our emotional and physical balance, becoming critical for enjoying good health.
“It is part of the cure to wish to be cured.”— Lucius Seneca
Mind and Body Are Connected
Seneca knew it thousands of years ago what modern medicine is still reluctant to admit: a patient’s beliefs can affect the healing process.
In fact, many ancient cultures regarded mind-body connections as essential to treat illness, a medical approach that is now becoming important again.
The importance of what the mind believes and thinks for the body’s healing processes is supported by all the studies regarding the placebo effect.
The so-called placebo effect is an authentic biological reaction orchestrated by the brain.
There’s evidence that what a patient expects from a treatment can influence the brain neurochemistry and affect the body.
Achieving Positive Thinking Attitude
How do you become a positive thinker?
The main step to becoming a positive thinker is to control negative thoughts. Whatever happens in your life, no matter how big the challenges you have to overcome, don’t let discouragement and negativity take control.
Learn to recognize the negative thoughts that creep into your mind and swap them with positive thoughts.
When you think I can’t do it; I’m bad at that; I’ll never be able to get out of this mess; etc.
Force yourself to ask why? What are the elements that make you certain you can’t do it? Often you‘ll find there are no supporting facts, but all the negativity is based on fear.
Switch the negative thoughts into positive ones: I’ll do my best; I am capable; I can take actions to move forward in life, etc.
Even if a situation seems helpless, you can always find a compromise, a change in plans that will make things work for the better. Sometimes the change may be very difficult and life-changing, but there is a way to go on.
Many times when a situation ends drastically or badly, we feel a failure. It is hard to get up and go again, it requires self-acceptance and trust in your abilities.
Even when it seems that all your problems come from others, it is not in them but within yourself that you have to find the strength and the positive.
Each undesired ending opens the door to a very desirable beginning. Focus on whatever good came from the circumstances, and give yourself credit for the things you have accomplished.
A Positive Attitude Improves Your Life
A positive attitude improves your mood, to your health and expanding your social relationships.
If you are upset about something and you can change it, take action; if you can’t change it, move on and let go.
Positive Thinking: a Way to Prevent Stress
When you realize you are worried and negative thoughts are creeping all over your mind, you must make an effort to switch gears and replace the negative thinking with positive affirmations.
If you are upset about something and you can change it, take action, if you can’t change it, move on and let go. Find a peace of mind that allows you to learn from the negative and move forward with renewed energy.
Stop thinking about things that create anxiety and conflict and looking at possible opportunities that may have been created.
You sort of start thinking anything's possible if you've got enough nerve.— J. K. Rowling
Health Benefits of Lower Stress
Achieving less tension and stress in our life brings a lot of health benefits.
When you are calm and cheerful:
- Your heart enjoys a lower rate
- Your blood pressure will be lower as well
- Your immune system works more efficiently
- You are a better company so...
- Your friends like you more
- All of the above make you feel even better.
Who loves spending time and energy with naysayers and naggers anyway?
Besides, with a worry-free mind, we make better choices, because we can calmly consider all the options and consequences, making better decisions. When we are too preoccupied we may not even recognize some great opportunities and miss out on advantageous chances.
Harvard health Publishing
© 2012 Robie Benve