It’s true what they say: Attitude is everything. Whether you’re a glass-half-full or glass-half-empty person says a lot about your outlook on life – but did you know your attitude can impact your health too? Mayo Clinic researchers found that patients with positive attitudes had lower stress levels and frequently better health outcomes than their pessimistic counterparts. Read on to explore the benefits of a positive attitude.
Benefits of a Positive Attitude
There’s nothing quite as satisfying as waking up with a little extra pep in your step. In fact, the Mayo Clinic reports a wide variety of overall health benefits associated with optimism, including reduced depression and an increased lifespan. The research behind the connection is still inconclusive, but the Mayo Clinic suggests that a positive attitude may lead people – seniors in particular – to work toward healthier lifestyles overall. What’s not to love about feeling good?
Boosted Immune System
Like we discussed above, a positive attitude can boost your overall wellness. But positive thinking can also have a particularly powerful effect on your immune system. In one study, researchers found that an influx of negative emotions led to a weaker immune response to a flu vaccine. In other words, negative thoughts and feelings made patients more likely to fall ill with the seasonal flu. That same study found that people who thought positively about a specific part of their lives – their marriage, for example – showed a stronger immune response.
Other Health Benefits
The Mayo Clinic found that positivity has several other important health benefits. These benefits may be especially important as you get older:
- Increased life span
- Lower levels of general distress and anxiety
- Better coping skills during times of stress
- Improved overall cardiovascular health
- Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
Ways to Cultivate a Positive Attitude
So, you’re intrigued by the benefits of positive thinking – but you still find it a bit tricky to look at the bright side of life. Never fear: There are several ways to increase your personal positivity, even if it doesn’t feel completely natural at first. Try these methods to move toward a more optimistic way of thinking:
- Start Small: Try writing down a few areas of your life that may be prone to negativity, whether that be work, family relationships, or something like politics. Rather than overhauling your entire mindset, try improving your outlook on just one of those things.
- Get Moving: Exercising for just 30 minutes a day is a great way to boost your mood and reduce your overall stress levels, which can help with positive thinking. You should also do your best to follow a healthy diet, which can improve your energy.
- Laugh It Up: We live in strange times, but there’s still plenty to smile about. Give yourself permission to have a laugh – it can dramatically reduce your stress levels.
- Practice Positive Self-Talk: Remember that positive thinking doesn’t always come naturally – and that’s perfectly fine. As you work toward a more positive outlook, remember to be gentle with yourself. If you find a negative thought entering your mind, acknowledge it – but try not to dwell on it. Instead, work on complimenting yourself internally.
The benefits of a positive attitude are undeniable. Fortunately, developing a positive outlook is easier than you might think. Between activity, positive self-talk, and plenty of patience, you’ll have a sunny disposition in no time.
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