Positive Thinking – Why it Matters

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Colin Powell famously stated, “Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.” But did you know that being positive can improve your health? According to an article published by The Huffington Post having a good attitude is more beneficial for your body than sunscreen or a weekend spa getaway. The article went on to state that humor actually improves immune cell functionality, wards off illness, reduces the risk of cancer, and increases your chances of surviving heart disease.

One research study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that patients that had a higher level of positive affect were actually more likely to exercise and had a lower risk of death after a five-year follow-up. But the benefits of positivity don’t end there. Optimism seems to have a measurable effect on our blood pressure. A study conducted on 2,564 participants 65 and older found a strong correlation between positive emotions and low blood pressure. The researchers found that on average, participants with the most positive emotions also had the best blood pressure. Research has also shown that optimism can affect our immune system. A 2006 study sought to explore the interaction between emotions and viral infections. Researchers found that subjects with a positive personality were less susceptible to viral symptoms than those with a less positive personality.

Often times, our society tends to look at health from very mechanical perspective. “Eat this and you will be healthy” or “you better hit the gym if you want to live longer!” And while diet and exercises are crucial elements to our overall health, it is important to not neglect our overall outlook and attitude.