Studies have shown that your outlook on life, your attitude toward yourself, and whether you’re optimistic or pessimistic may affect your health. These studies have found that people who are positive thinkers have overall better well-being – they are healthier, less stressed, and have an easier time overcoming obstacles than negative thinkers.
The overall well-being of optimists has proved to be generally much better than that of pessimists. This means that people who think positively have longer lifespans, less depression, and a reduced risk of death from cardiovascular problems. Researchers at Duke University Medical Center followed almost 3,000 patients after they had coronary angiography , and measured how those patients’ expectations affected their recovery and ability to perform normal physical activities. Patients with optimistic expectations showed a 17% decrease in their likelihood of dying over the 15-year study period.
Positive thinking can lead to a strengthened immune system. It is believed to help people fight off common colds and more serious ailments. In 2003, the New York Times published a study (http://www.nytimes.com/2003/09/02/health/power-of-positive-thinking-may-have-a-health-benefit-study-says.html) that showed weakened immune responses to a flu vaccine by people who experienced negative emotions. Consistent negative thoughts led to electrical activity in the brain’s prefrontal cortex and lower amounts of antibodies than those with positive thoughts.
When facing a stressful situation, people who are positive thinkers can often cope more effectively than pessimists. Optimists believe in themselves and their abilities, so they expect good things to happen. They also accept things they cannot change and do not dwell on these issues but focus on solutions to problems they can fix. They see negative outcomes as minor setbacks. Pessimists on the other hand, assume that a situation is out of their control and there is nothing they can do to fix it, and focus on the bad outcomes rather than the good.
How to use this Information
The proven health benefits of being an optimistic person show that even when times are tough, it is important to remain positive in order to remain healthy. At South Denver Cardiology, we believe in treating the whole person and offer a wide range of mind and body classes (https://www.southdenver.com/tour-our-center/mindbody-studio/). These yoga, balance, relaxation, and stress management classes are a great way to begin dealing with stress in a more positive way. View our classes so you can get started thinking positively today(https://www.southdenver.com/calendar-of-events/)! Contact the experts at South Denver Cardiologists at 303-744-1065 if you have questions, and share how you think positively via the comments below.