6 ways positive thinking affects your health

HAVE YOU EVER HAD A “BAD DAY”? One where nothing goes right from the time you get up to the time you go to bed? Now, think of how you felt at the end of that day – tense, exhausted, stressed, and angry. Next, think about what this state of mind can do to your cardiovascular system, digestive system, muscles, brain and your health. It gives a signal to the adrenal glands to flood the body with adrenaline and stress hormones. Not so bad if this happens occasionally. Not so good if this happens every day.

There’s no doubt about it – how we think impacts how we feel. Because how we think speaks to our organs. While proof of this is a little fuzzy, studies confirm the link between seeing life on the bright side and being in good health.

6 ways positive thinking affects your health

Body and mind benefits of positive thinking

1. Better resilience

Resilience arises out of a belief in one’s own self-efficacy, the ability to deal with change, and use of a repertoire of problem-solving skills.

Brigid Gillespie 2007

We all go through life’s ups and downs. And it’s not easy to cope with major life events such as divorce, loss of a loved one, or a job loss. But believing that, no matter what happens, you are in charge, accepting how you feel, and moving on is the key to resilience.

How does this affect health? According to the Mayo Clinic, “resilience can help protect you from various mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.”

2. Improved cardiovascular function

The facts speak for themselves – positive thinkers are 53% less likely to have a heart attack than negative thinkers. Even optimists with a family history of heart problems were 13% less likely to experience heart issues. This is according to the results of a survey conducted by Johns Hopkins.

3. A more efficient immune system

How does positive thinking affect the immune system? First, we know that optimism reduces stress levels. A study that aimed to link positivity and immunity examined the optimistic expectancies of students with affect. The findings showed that there was a relationship between optimistic expectancies and cell-mediated immunity that led to a more robust immune system. On the other hand, patients who expected poor outcomes usually experienced poor results. While more research is required to establish how optimism acts on immunity, it can be said that optimism does produce positive effects on health.

4. Lower rates of depression

Positive psychology is the study of how physical, mental and social well-being are interconnected. Positive thinkers focus on the positive and believe they are in control of their lives. This increases their ability to cope with difficult life situations such as illness or loss. While there needs to be more research in this area, it is clear that living in constant negativity increases your risk of depression.

5. Live a longer life

Many studies link positive thinking with optimal health. But few studies have been conducted linking optimism with living longer. A 2019 cohort study of men and women aimed to prove just that. The participants’ optimist levels were assessed using an official optimism-pessimism scale. Models were used to make adjustments for variables such as demographics, health, and personality. The findings were consistent. The men and women found to have the most extended lifespan had, on average, a 95% self-confidence level. The participants with the highest levels of optimism had an increased chance of living beyond 85 years old.

6. Faster wound healing

Patients who harboured anxiety, fear, or depression had delayed wound healing and were four times more likely to be in the delayed healing group than the more optimistic patients. This was confirmed by findings from observational studies that examined wound healing after different types of surgery showed that. Also, depressed or stressed patients were rehospitalised more often with complications. Sociodemographic factors did not influence the outcomes.

6 ways positive thinking affects your health

Do you have a positive mindset?

Or do you have too many “bad days”?
If you are struggling to see the positive things in your life and need help, there is help. While we can’t change our disposition – we can train ourselves to modify our behaviour – through Cognitive Behavioural Therapy CBT which aims to help set micro-objectives – an effective way to make progressive changes.
Here is where to get help with a trained coach.

written by Linda Salamin

You might also enjoy
Stress-free holidays
Holidays – stressfree

Stress-free holidays – Do you feel stressed before the holidays have even begun? Learn in this article what you can do to start off the holidays stress-free and then enjoy them to the fullest.

stress in relationship
How to manage your test stress

Test anxiety and test stress – we are all familiar with these unpleasant feelings. Regardless of how old we are or how much experience we have, tests always cause us stress. With our tips, take control of your test anxiety.

Can we help?