The effect of positive thinking on physical health

People fall into two categories, optimists and pessimists ignoring the overlapping grey areas. While the effect of positive thinking on physical health is beneficial, negative thinking is like an addiction running into health issues. Once you yield to negative thinking, it overpowers your mind.

think positivelyPositive thinking is the underlying power of happy mind. Your thought process and health are very much correlated. Positivity exudes from the thinking of a healthy person, which is grossly absent in a negative thinker. A positive person will always display a unique appearance – attractive and striking.

It is not you will be all smiles every day. Staying positive all the time is tough as life hurls unexpected negativities too. What we can do is to stay positive amidst those situations and try to overcome the negativities with our positive thinking power. Positive thinking helps in coping with stress better which ultimately boosts your physique.

How positive thinking works?

positive thinking works

Although the relation between positive thinking and good health remains unclear, but researchers feel that positive thinkers have enhanced protection against stress related inflammation. Another possible explanation is that positive thinking people are always hopeful. This helps them maintain focus and take better decisions on life and health matters.
Quite a few studies have also proved that positive attitude enhances life’s outcomes and brings in more satisfaction covering a spectrum of conditions. It is no longer a doubt that whatever happens in our brain affects our body. Pushing the brain to negative thinking severely alters the function of neurotransmitters. As a result, our body suffers.

Why negative thinking is bad for health?

·        Reduces cognitive function:

Reduces cognitive functionA study conducted on worrying and non-worrying persons published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology in 2006 clearly established that negativity leads to a significant cognitive decline. People lose confidence in themselves in every simple activity which is bound to affect their health.

·        Induces pain:

ArthritisIn a 1990 study to establish a correlation between negative thoughts and the incidence of pain, 185 people were chosen. They were suffering from chronic ache from sickle cell anemia and arthritis.  Subjects reported that negative thoughts not only heightened pain but also made them a mental wreck. Pain precipitates in pessimism which in turn makes it intolerable.

·        Worsens depression:

Worsens depressionA study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology after examining the thinking pattern of depressed college students report that negative thinking worsens the condition. It creates hindrance in efforts to control depression.

What are the effects of positive thinking on physical health?

The effect of positive thinking on physical health is a matter of serious study in medical, wellness and meditation circuits. It not only boosts your physique but also improves your intellectual faculties. Here we go with the benefits:

Enhanced longevity:

better mental and physical shapeThis is perhaps the most beneficial effect of positive thinking on physical health. Positive thinkers are more committed towards their life goals and put their heart and soul after those. Naturally, they are more satisfied with their lives and tend to be in better mental and physical shape.  A study published in JAMA Psychiatry found that people with pessimistic attitude have 55% higher chances of death in the 9-year follow up time. The trend is more marked in men.

Strengthens immune system:

Strengthens immune systemA study conducted among 124 incoming law students published in Brain, Behavior and Immunity supported the above statement. The students were asked to filled five questionnaires.

This was followed by regular immunity checkups through the year. Students who were upbeat in their outlook showed improved cellular immunity. On the other hand, the pessimistic attitude of students had a negative effect on immune response.

Reduces bad cholesterol:

Reduces bad cholesterolDo you know that apart from diet and exercising, a positive outlook can reduce your bad cholesterol? This has been established by a study conducted in 2013 by the Harvard School of Public Health published in The American Journal of Cardiology. Middle-aged participants scoring “optimistic” in the test had good cholesterol levels.

Reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases:

risk of cardiovascular diseases

This clearly reflects the effect of positive thinking on physical health. The leading killer disease can be defeated by being an optimistic person. A study in support of the above was published in Circulation, a journal released by the American Heart Association.

Another study also found that people with higher levels of optimism had 73% lesser risk of heart failure. This can be attributed to the fact that positive people tend to follow healthy lifestyles and can manage stress better which makes a difference in cardiovascular health.

Slows aging:

 Slows agingWho can ever imagine of such an effect of positive thinking on physical health? People would rather strive to focus on positivity to retard aging. This has been revealed from a study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal who found that pessimistic adults over 60 years showed reduced mobility and other problems while carrying on day-to-day activities.

During the study, it was observed that people with medium or low-level enjoyment in lives are 80% more likely to have developed mobility problems. Being optimistic is the key to better health and long life.

Improves coping skills during hard times:

No event can leave a positive thinker physically or mentally shattered. According to the opinion of a professor of adolescent health research at the Murdoch Children’s Center for Adolescent Health in Melbourne, optimistic older adults are less likely to suffer from depression and other health problems. This is also applicable in teens.

Optimism also acts as a shield from substance abuse and anti-social behavior. Although, there are other factors to be considered but it has been found that optimistic teens can handle emotional and behavioral problems better. A stable mental condition always fosters good health.

Tips to develop positive thinking:

Practice yoga and meditation

‘Sound mind resides in sound body’ is an older concept. ‘Sound Mind builds sound body’ is a newer one. ‘What you think and how you think’ do guide your health. It makes an impact, whatever it is negative or positive, on your body. So just, start thinking well and positively. ‘You are what you eat’ is an old fact, here is the new one, ‘You are what you think’.

The effect of positive thinking on physical health is now an established fact. Now how to move over to that coveted mental state? Positive thinking of a healthy person is likely to be developed by the following habits.

  • Keep smiling. It lifts your mood. Muscles in your forehead are linked to the emotional centre of the brain, hence the suggestion.
  • Practice yoga and meditation. Both of them help you connect with inner self and replace negative feelings with positive energy.
  • Be in the company of optimists. They help you show the brighter side of life even amid the darkness.
  • Solve someone else’s problem and you find a sense of victory and joy. Your self-confidence is reinforced.
  • Make an attempt to sing. It lifts your mood, gives you fun and a feel-good sensation.
  • Read to your heart’s content. Good reads bring in positivity in life. These texts are time-tested. They open before you the door to treasury of knowledge and bliss.
  • Have profound faith in your potential.
  • Set priorities of your life right. Once strategies and objectives are fixed you think positively to achieve them.
  • Learn from failures as they make you wary.
  • Set realistic targets. Don’t set your expectations too high that they are unachievable making you unhappy.
  • Start smaller than you think. A small change in lifestyle or thought process won’t invite a resistance from your end. Gradually, build the habit and finally make it your life’s mantra.
  • Nurture a good environment conducive to positive thinking and cultivating healthy lifestyle.

You cannot tap the power of happy mind unless you think positive. However, negative phases are inevitable. The idea is not to linger on to it. Focus on positive thoughts and there lies the key to success.

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