Most people have heard about the benefits of walking through life seeing the proverbial glass half full, rather than focusing on worry and self-doubt. Positive thinking has the power to cancel out the negative thoughts that can cause physical and mental stress and, in turn, wreak havoc on health.
According to the Mayo Clinic, taking a more optimistic approach throughout life comes with significant health benefits ranging from being better able to cope during stressful situations and able to fight off colds to having lower rates of depression and even living longer.(1)
A recent study conducted by Australian researches reinforces the power of positivity, showing that there is a correlation between a positive attitude and a stronger immune system that helps lead to a longer lifespan.(2)
Positive thinking leads to longevity
Fifty adults between the ages of 65 and 90 years were studied for two years, all of them were asked to view a series of positive and negative images. Blood tests were administered to gauge immune function, and it was discovered that participants who could recall more positive images than negative ones had enhanced immune functioning, something that’s typically compromised among older adults, which leads to a downward health spiral.(2)
“Despite the fact that people often think of late life as a period of doom and gloom, older people are often more positive than younger people,” said lead researcher Dr. Elise Kalokerinos. “Our research suggests that this focus on the positive may help older people protect their declining health.”(2)
Mindset also drives dietary choices
This is not the first time positive thinking has been linked to improvements in overall health. Many health experts and inspirational speakers have honed in on the importance that the mind has in shunning junk foods and, instead, choosing healthier options like fresh fruits and vegetables.
Esther Hicks is one such inspirational speaker. She believes that a person’s mindset can lead them down a path that either helps them feel good or bad about what they eat and therefore continue to eat a particular way on a regular basis.(2) Hicks suggests remaining as mindful as possible of the body and its cravings, saying that people should stop thinking in terms of good and bad foods and, instead, hone in on who they truly are and what’s best for their needs.(3)
In addition to paying attention to individual needs rather than the good/bad options often presented to people throughout life, there are other ways to invite more positivity. For example, writing down or having an awareness as to what a person is grateful for has been shown in studies to strengthen overall health, vastly reduce stress and increase longevity.(4)