How Positive Thinking Influences Your Health
by Paula Watson
Most of us have heard of “positive thinking.” We know that it’s helpful to our mental state of being to think positively about life in general and our circumstances in particular.
There is also plenty of evidence that suggests positive thinking can actually have an impact on your physical well-being.
Here are a few ways how positive thinking helps you become healthy without spending much money at all.
Positive Thinking and Healthier Lifestyles
Recent studies have concluded that people who are positive thinkers are healthier because they lead healthier lifestyles. Generally speaking, optimistic or “glass-half-full” people have a tendency to be more active, eat better, get more exercise, and have less of a problem with dependency on nicotine, drugs or alcohol than the “glass-half-empty” personalities.
Positive-thinking people seem to have somewhat stronger immune systems that negative thinkers. When it comes to ailments like the common cold, optimistic people tend to be less prone to catch them than their positive-thinking counterparts.
It’s still unclear whether this seeming boost to the immune system is caused directly by positive thinking, or rather by the healthier lifestyle that optimistic people usually lead.
Emotions and Hormone Levels
We have known for several years that fluctuations in hormone levels can most definitely affect a person physically. For example, women that experience an extremely stressful situation sometimes produce such a reduced amount of estrogen that they actually stop menstruating.
But feel-good hormone levels start to rise when you experience positive, uplifting emotions.
When you feel sad or depressed, how does that make you feel physically? Many people feel tired or agitated or hungry or not hungry at all—the list goes on and on.
Just consider people who suffer from depression and how they report feeling physically ill when they suffer from bouts of it. So it’s pretty safe to assume that mental and physical health are linked, but the connection may be stronger than we realize.
Consider the countless number of studies where a group of people were given a placebo pill (one that contains no medicine of any kind), and the vast majority of people reported that they felt better after taking the pill.
This would definitely suggest that when the people BELIEVED they had actually taken some sort of medicine really did feel better. That evidence of positive thinking repeats itself time after time in similar studies.
Many people believe that repeating affirmations on a daily basis helps to encourage good health, a positive outlook on life, and even slows down the aging process. Affirmations are, in a way, a method of programming your own mind.
For many, once the mind is programmed correctly, the body will follow. For example, an affirmation for better health might be something along the lines of, “I now take charge of my body and experience an abundance of mental and physical health and unconditional happiness.”
This may sound ridiculously obvious, but it’s so true—people who think positively are happier! But it’s much more than just a matter of feeling happy.
Think of it this way: happy people are less stressed and less depressed than unhappy people. We know that stress is a major contributing factor in disease and illness (high blood pressure and heart disease are just two examples), so once you rid yourself of stress, you also lower your risk for disease and illness.
It’s pretty obvious that our mental health is related to our physical health, although to what extent and exactly how those two influence each other have yet to be fully understood. Still, there are plenty of indicators that point in that direction.
And we forgot to mention one other huge benefit to positive thinking—it’s absolutely free! It costs you nothing at all to become an optimist. You have total control over how you look at life, and nobody will charge you a penny for looking on the bright side. All things considered, why WOULDN’T you try to be a positive thinker?
So what are you waiting for? With all the benefits of positive thinking, we have yet to find one negative aspect to being an optimist. And it’s totally within your control. You don’t need to buy a book, rent a video, apply an ointment or purchase a subscription. You can start thinking positively today—right this moment. Now is a great time to put a smile on your face and take a walk on the happy side of life. You just might feel better because of it.
(Paula Watson writes for Miracle Weighted Blanket, located in Austin, Texas. She is passionate about treating diseases with alternative medicine, and she has a deep interest in helping parents positively manage children with autism and ADHD through the most natural means possible.)