Thinking Positively Does More Than You Probably Think
Believe it or not, positive thinking may be the answer to some of life’s biggest problems. It may be shocking to you but thinking positively can even improve the condition of our health, ward off certain diseases and improve our life as a whole. This really is yet another reason why we should always keep positive thoughts in our mind.
Check out these surprising benefits from CheatSheet.
Researchers continue to explore the effects of positive thinking and optimism on health. Optimism doesn’t mean that you have a constant grin, but it does mean remaining positive about what’s to come. As Suzanne Segerstrom, a professor of psychology at the University of Kentucky, puts it: “Happiness is an emotion, a feeling. Optimism is a belief about the future.” Here are some positive effects that optimism could have on your health.
1. Increased life span
Living longer is something we can all be happier about. A positive outlook can influence more than just your mood. “People who are optimistic are more committed to their goals, are more successful in achieving their goals, are more satisfied with their lives, and have better mental and physical health when compared to more pessimistic people,” said Segerstrom.
You’ll also live longer. A Dutch study, published in JAMA Psychiatry, found that those of a pessimistic disposition were 55% more likely to die during the nine-year follow-up period. The effect was particularly strong in men. A longer life is certainly something to smile about.
2. Greater resistance to the common cold
Whether it’s the result of meditation or singing, having an upbeat outlook will help you fight off illness.
Segerstrom completed a study, published in Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, to investigate the connection between optimism and immunity. She recruited 124 incoming law students and had them complete five questionnaires and immunity checks over the course of a year.
Segerstrom found that when a student displayed optimistic thinking, he or she also showed greater cell-mediated immunity. A pessimistic outlook, on the other hand, had an actual negative effect on the response of immune cells.
That means that negativity may make you more vulnerable to illness. So when you encounter co-workers with a cold or your children catch the flu, try not to stress over it.
3. Lower cholesterol
High cholesterol is an issue for a large portion of Americans. Yes, diet and exercise are a great way to lower your cholesterol, but did you know that by simply being optimistic, you can lower your cholesterol?
A 2013 study from the Harvard School of Public Health published in The American Journal of Cardiology found that middle-aged study participants who scored as optimistic on a test have higher levels of “good” cholesterol. Now that’s good news!
Try reading, taking a walk, or a yoga session — you’ll feel better and your mind will be in a better place to fight negativity, in turn putting a positive spin on those cholesterol numbers.
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