Are you a person whose glass is half empty or half full? Are you optimistic or pessimistic? Believe it or not, these are very important questions to ask yourself. If you are one who struggles with negative thoughts and negative self talk, your overall health may be at risk.
Negative emotions and feelings are known to generate harmful toxins throughout the body. Anger, envy, jealousy and fear prompt the endocrine system to create poisons in the blood. Anxiety, depression and doubt can also produce dangerous substances which have a detrimental effect on a person’s mental and physical condition. Lengthy negative emotions are even more dangerous for your health than active, sudden negative feelings. It is a fact that negative emotions can cause anxiety and will shorten a person’s life. Those who anger easily and are under constant stress are often people who develop heart disease and other illnesses.
When people think that something unpleasant is going to happen to them, it is more likely to happen because it is reflected in their unconscious. This is called “a self-fulfilling prophecy”. Amazingly, about 70% of all illnesses are psychosomatic, or caused by mental stress.
On the other hand, positive thinking and an optimistic attitude helps to reduce stress and consequently, improves your health and well-being. Positive thinking people have fewer heart attacks and in general, less illness. So, if you are a negative thinker with a pessimistic attitude, is there any hope for you? Yes!
The good news is that you can learn positive thinking skills. This does not mean you live an unrealistic life and ignore life’s less pleasant situations. Positive thinking means you approach the unpleasantness in a more positive and productive way. You need to think the best is going to happen, not the worst. For some, this is easier said than done. But really, what do you have to lose. God forbid, you think the best will happen and you are wrong. You have wasted all that time feeling positive about something. How can that hurt you?
While doing some research on this topic, I found the Mayo Clinic promotes the idea of positive self-talk. Throughout the day a person has an endless stream of unspoken thoughts running through their head. These thoughts can be negative or positive. How can you turn a negative thought into a positive one? Just do it! There is no situation that is all negative. You have to find the positive and focus on that aspect and try to diminish the negative. This may not be easy for many, but it is worth it. I have always heard, “there is a silver lining in every dark cloud” and it is true.
Some tips to overcome negative thoughts include meditation and yoga. Smile, surround yourself with positive people, change the tone of your thoughts from negative to positive, don’t play the victim, help someone. Remember that no one is perfect and allow yourself to move forward. Sing, list five things you are grateful for and read positive quotes. What do you have to lose? Be good to yourself and give this a try.
Researchers continue to investigate the health effects of positive thinking and optimism. They feel at this time the benefits 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 heart disease
-Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress
Over the years at the Farrar Home, I have found that residents and staff with positive outlooks on life do much better in all areas. It can be challenging to find the good in a difficult situation, but it is there. We should all try to do this not only for ourselves, but to help others focus the wonderful things in their lives.
Living life to the best of our abilities and taking good care of ourselves and other people will help to make the world a better place for everyone.