Good Health Requires a Positive Attitude

Your outlook on life, your attitude towards yourself, and how optimistic or pessimistic you are may play a significant role in your health.

Much of our ability to effectively manage stress and maintain a positive outlook on life has to do with our ability to do manage the thoughts constantly running through our heads.

If the thoughts that run through your head are mostly negative, your outlook on life is more likely pessimistic. If your thoughts are mostly positive, you’re likely an optimist — someone who practices positive thinking.

The health benefits associated with being more optimistic (positive) in our thinking, include:

• Increased life span
• Lower rates of depression
• Lower levels of distress
• Greater resistance to the common cold
• Better psychological and physical well-being
• Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
• Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress

Positive thinking is a habit, or a learned process that requires time and practice. Here are some ways to start thinking and behaving in a more positive way:

1) Identify Areas to Change: A major step in becoming a more positive thinker is identifying the areas of your life that you normally think negatively about, like work, your relationships, your daily commute, etc. See what areas you can change to decrease the negative thinking. An example would be to stop spending time with friends that make you feel bad about yourself and spend more time with people that respect you and your goals.

2) Daily Check-ins: Stop throughout the day and evaluate the types of thoughts you are having. If they tend to me more negative than positive, re-evaluate and try and put a positive spin on them.

3) Follow a healthy lifestyle. Exercise at least three times a week to positively affect mood and reduce stress. Follow a healthy diet to fuel your mind and body. And learn techniques to manage stress.

4) Surround yourself with positive people. Make sure those in your life are positive, supportive people you can depend on to give helpful advice and feedback. Negative people may increase your stress level and make you doubt your ability to manage stress in healthy ways.

When your state of mind is generally optimistic, you’re better able to handle everyday stress in a more constructive way. That ability may contribute to the widely observed health benefits of positive thinking.