3 Reasons Why Being Positive Is Good for Your Health
Keeping a glass-half-full attitude can have numerous health benefits to your mind and body.
According to a study by Johns Hopkins, positive thinking can save your life. The study showed that those with a family history of heart disease and many other high-risk factors were 13% less likely to have a heart attack if they were positive thinkers.
Why is this? Scientists don’t completely know. It could be because those who are optimistic make better long-term life decisions (including healthy choices), or it could be that studies have linked negativity to a weaker immune system.
Healthier hearts aren’t the only benefit of having a glass-half-full attitude. Keeping a positive outlook provides these benefits:
- Increases your lifespan
- Improves your immunity against colds
- Creates a healthier mental state
- Lowers your risk of depression and distress
- Gives you better coping skills during stressful times
Related: Living in the Now--Being Present
So, if you’re a pessimist, are you doomed? Nope! Luckily, you can learn to become a positive thinker.
Start with these three simple steps:
Smile more often
It sounds too simple to be true, but it’s been found that even faux-smiling can relieve your stress in intense situations. Try forcing a smile more often and feel your nerves loosen.
Related: Why Smiling Is Good for You
Identify your thoughts
If your automatic response is negative thinking, you probably don’t even notice it. Start by identifying whether each thought is positive or negative and learn to switch a negative thought to a positive one. This doesn’t mean you have to ignore everything bad, but it does mean you might need to learn to narrate the story you are living a little differently. Eventually, you won’t have to always be thinking about making the switch.
It would be nearly impossible to never think something bad about yourself. The key is to stop beating yourself up about your flaws and look at it as an opportunity to change instead.
If you hate that you tend to lose your temper more than you should, acknowledge that it’s a problem and decide that for a full week you’re going to count to ten (or twenty) before you react to a triggering situation.
There are certain habits that studies link to enhancing positive emotions. Journaling is one—particularly if you are writing a gratitude journal every day.
Meditation will also help increase those positive feelings. Develop a habit of doing either (or both) of these things every day, and voila! You’ll be well on your way to a happier outlook on life.
Learning to think positively doesn’t come naturally, but with a few small steps, you may experience the great health benefits that come from positive thinking.