No doubt you’ve heard us at The 100 Year Lifestyle, and many other authors and health and wellness experts, talk about the power of positive thinking. But what does that mean? What is positive thinking?
“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.” – Willie Nelson
Many people mistakenly assume that positive thinking involves ignoring “bad” things that happen. That’s actually not true. Positive thinking involves making the best out of every situation, seeing the best in other people, and viewing yourself and your abilities in a positive light. You develop a positive thinking mindset by focusing on what you can control, letting go of what you can’t, and looking for ways to improve any situation and what lessons can be learned from it.
Positive thinking, according to the Mayo Clinic, offers many mental and physical health benefits, including:
- Increased life span
- Lower rates of depression
- Lower levels of distress
- Greater resistance to the common cold
- Better psychological and physical well-being
- Better cardiovascular health and reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
- Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress.
It’s both scientific fact and common sense that we have more self-confidence, feel better mentally and physically, and our body is healthier when we avoid negative thinking patterns and think positively.
Still not convinced? A meta-analysis of more than 300 studies covering 30 years of inquiry into the relationship between stress and the immune system found that stressful events can change immune system functioning. In a nutshell, stress is a bad thing, and whether it affects us in short bursts or over long periods of time – we still experience negative effects. In fact, the study found that people who described their lives as “stressful” had a significant reduction in natural killer cells – the cells whose job it is to target and eliminate the virus and tumor-infected cells. Gaining control over that stress, developing a positive thinking mindset literally contributes greatly to becoming a “least vulnerable person.”
A paper titled “The Benefits of Frequent Positive Effect: Does Happiness Lead to Success?” looked at studies involving over 275,000 people. Individual studies confirmed a link between positive thinking, happiness, and better health as determined by sick days from work and hospitalizations over a 5 year period. Happy people, these studies found, were less likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors such as smoking, unhealthy eating, and substance abuse. Optimism about life was also associated with a lower incidence of heart disease and general better physical recovery.
So, here’s what we know about positive thinking:
- It can improve your immune system.
- It lowers stress and thereby decreases blood pressure.
- It gives you physical and mental resilience.
- It contributes to longevity.
- It enables you to enjoy life more.
- It produces better habits.
- It’s an essential part of your 100 Year Lifestyle!
Thinking it might be a good idea to up your game when it comes to positive thinking? No problem! The exciting thing is that you can literally change your thinking overnight! Want some help to get started? Check out the 100 Year Lifestyle article, “Changing The Movie of You.”
Want more help? Develop your mental and physical well-being team to help you make a smooth transition. Enlist friends, family, and professionals to keep you on the positive path. Start by finding your 100 Year Lifestyle provider here!