Every Monday we provide you with a motivational quote on our Facebook page.
This little dose of #mondaymotivation is in the spirit of helping you start out your week with a fresh, positive attitude. While we always promote physical changes in the body for health and well being, the mental aspect is important too. Just like you train your body, you must train your mind, and how we train our minds can make all the difference in the world for achieving success and happiness. A positive mindset can help create a healthier you.
What are some advantages for adopting a positive mindset?
- Improving or maintaining your health
- Introducing a new behavior
- Enhancing your overall sense of happiness and well being
Let’s look specifically at the health benefits of a positive mindset:
- Increased life span– You have more focus on your goals, are more successful at achieving these goals and are more satisfied with your life
- Healthier lipid profile– A study suggested that greater optimism was associated with greater high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and lower triglycerides. In addition, these associations can be explained, in part, by the presence of healthier behaviors and a lower body mass index. (5)
- Lower rates of depression–Decrease depression and anxiety especially in adolescents
- Lower levels of distress and better coping skills during times of stress– One study assessed the influence of optimism on cortisol levels during high-stress situations and concluded that optimism decreased the amount of cortisol released in these scenarios (1)
- Greater resistance to the common cold– Research has found that when a person 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, meaning that negativity may make you more vulnerable to illness (4)
- Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease- Evidence suggests that psychological factors such as depression, anxiety, anger or hostile attitude influence risk for cardiovascular disease morbidity and mortality. One attribute that has received particular attention is dispositional optimism, defined as the general expectation that good things, rather than bad things, will happen in the future. Evidence shows, for example, that optimistic individuals have a lower risk of rehospitalization after bypass surgery and are at reduced risk of mortality (6)
People with a family history of heart disease who also had a positive outlook were one-third less likely to have a heart attack or other cardiovascular event within five to 25 years than those with a more negative outlook. (3) It has even been found that individuals who had higher levels of optimism had a 73% lower risk of heart failure compared with those who were pessimistic.
In addition to the list of health benefits, studies have been done that positively link overall well being was to short- and long-term health outcomes as well as pain-tolerance and immunity.
How do we focus on positive thinking and create more optimism to reap the health benefits?
It takes time to adopt new ways of positive thinking, since it is a new habit you are forming.
Identify areas of change– First take a look at where you think most negatively. Examples include work, your commute or stress at home.
Check in- As you experience negative thoughts, try and stop them by thinking positive thoughts at that time. For example, if you are stuck in traffic and start thinking negatively about this, you can choose to think that you have more time in the car to listen to music, news or a podcast and that you have no control over the traffic.
Follow a healthy lifestyle– Exercise to improve your mood, reduce stress and feel more energetic. Follow a healthy diet.
Surround yourself with positive people- Spend time with those that encourage you and provide a positive, healthy environment.
Encourage yourself- Reassure yourself and treat yourself well. If you start thinking negatively about yourself, try and turn that thought around to be positive.
Optimism and the power of positive thinking may cause people to adopt healthier lifestyles, such as following a healthier diet, exercising more, and managing stress which may account for the difference in their health. You don’t need to keep a constant grin on your face, but remaining positive about what’s to come can certainly increase your quality of life. We love to hear questions and comments, so contact us here!
- “The Power of Positivity”. Accessed 5, October 2015. The American Council on Exercise. http://www.acefitness.org/acefit/healthy-living-article/60/5464/the-power-of-positivity/?authorScope=36
- “Positive Thinking: Stop Negative Self-Talk to Reduce Stress”. Accessed 5, October 2015. MayoClinic.org. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/positive-thinking/art-20043950?pg=1
- “The Power of Positive Thinking”. Accessed 5, October 2015. Johns Hopkins Medicine. http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/healthy_aging/healthy_mind/the-power-of-positive-thinking
- “Optimistic Expectancies and Cell-Mediated Immunity: The Role of Positive Affect”. Accessed 5, October 2015. US National Library of Medicine. National institutes of Health. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3933956/
- “Relation between Optimism and Lipids in Midlife”. Accessed 5, October 2015. The American Journal of Cardiology. http://www.ajconline.org/article/S0002-9149%2813%2900388-3/abstract
- “Optimism,Cynical Hostility and Incident Coronary Heart Disease and Mortality in the Women’s Health Initiative”. Accessed 5, October 2015. American Heart Association. http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/120/8/656.full
- Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net