There are many benefits to positive thinking but most surprisingly are the physical health benefits you can reap from keeping a positive mindset.
What Is Positive Thinking?
Positive thinking is often confused for a person who can only see the good in bad situations. This isn’t true, and it would be impossible to look at the world in such a positive light all the time.
Positive thinking is the ability to approach the challenges that life throws at you with a positive attitude. Positive thinking helps you approach a difficult situation with the notion: “How can I make the best of this situation?”
Some people who are presented with a problem look at it from a defeatist point of view: “This always happens to me.” A person with a positive attitude will say “Well it needs to be resolved, so let’s just get on with it.” Often people feel hard done by and this attitude of hopelessness can have a negative effect on health.
Benefits of Positive Thinking for Health
There are a number of benefits to having a more positive approach to challenges.
Stress is a significant problem in the Western world and can lead to health problems. Reducing our stress levels is beneficial to our health.
In one study by Concordia University, it was found that those who were optimists had a lower stress baseline. Their cortisol levels were also much more stable. They tended to be more protected in times of stress.
In contrast, for the pessimists, the stress response was much more elevated and they struggled to bring their cortisol levels down.
This can be explained by our fight and flight response. When you rationalize and digest the situation in a more optimistic light, you can activate a parasympathetic response that will slow down your physiology and thus prevent any detrimental side effects from high stress levels.
Stress lowers our natural immunity to disease. Positive thinking helps to fight stress and thus helps protect our immune system. In one study, positive thinking was shown to boost the ability to fight off disease.
Improves Heart Health
People who have a more positive outlook are better protected against the inflammation damage of stress. John Hopkins researchers found that those with a family history of heart disease but who also had a positive outlook were a third less likely to have a heart attack.
Extends Life Expectancy
A team of American Psychologists found that people who thought positively about aging lived 7 and a half years longer than those who regretted the years as they passed. They also found that positive attitudes lowered blood cholesterol and blood pressure, which can add more years onto your life.
Other health benefits:
- The ability to better deal with problems
- Increased resilience
- Development of positive habits; being positive can help you make better choices when it comes to what you eat and what you do in your spare time
- Enhanced self-esteem; when you think more positively, it can naturally have a positive effect on your self-esteem as you become more positive about yourself.
- A more enjoyable life with a better outlook, you will feel more in control of your life and will thus feel happier
- Healthier relationships
Positive thinking is one of the best and easiest things you can do to improve your overall health. Negativity can stress you out, so make the commitment to a healthier happier you today.
Kelly Crawford is the Editor of HardBoiledBody.com. Hard Boiled Body aims to provide easy to understand health and nutrition advice to help you build a resilient and strong (hard boiled) body and mind to live life to the fullest. Follow on Facebook and Pinterest.