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Positive Thinking May Improve Your Health

I spent 22 years in the nursing profession. I enjoy writing, reading historical novels, gardening, and helping people live a healthier life.



Positive or Negative Reactions

Do you tend to react in a positive or more negative fashion to problems? Is your glass half full? Attitudes obviously affect people on an emotional level, and they can affect people on a physical level in many instances. If health can be affected by emotions, then what can a person do to change this narrative?

Some research studies have shown that optimism and pessimism will both affect your health. Effective stress management involves positive thinking. Pessimistic people can learn positive thinking skills. This does not mean that you simply ignore life’s unpleasant situations, but you learn to deal with them in a different way.

Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.

— Helen Keller

Positive Thinking Impacts Some Diseases

People that have a family history of heart disease can reduce their risk of heart attacks with a positive attitude. A study confirmed that a person with a positive attitude was one-third less likely to have any cardiovascular incident within 5 to 25 years compared to those with a negative outlook.

Scientist do not fully understand why they got these results, but the consensus is that stress and negativity causes inflammatory damage. Other studies show that negativity with regard to emotions can weaken the immune response, thus leaving the body open to diseases.

What About Age?

People of 50 years or older were assessed in a Health and Retirement Study. Inflammation was measured by assessing the blood level of CRP. Over a 6 year period of time the result showed that people with lower CRP survived longer.

Thinking Woman

Thinking Woman

Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you'll start having positive results.

— Willie Nelson

The Benefits of Positive Thinking

If you can be optimistic by thinking positively concerning your health and life, there are several benefits according to researchers.

Some of the benefits include:

  • Better resistance to the common cold
  • An increased life span
  • A lower rate of depression
  • Improved psychological and physical health
  • Better cardiovascular health with a lower risk of death from any cardiovascular disease
  • Improved coping skills that help during times of stressful situations

Scientist do not fully understand why we experience health benefits through positive thinking. They know positive thinking helps people to cope more effectively with stressful situations. This negates the harmful inflammatory response. Scientist also think positive thinking people probably live a healthier lifestyle, which includes exercising, eating healthy and not smoking or drinking alcohol to excess.

Other Disease Reactions

According to a University of Kansas study, people who smile, even with a fake smile, had a reduction of their heart rate and blood pressure during times of stress.

Another study of people with HIV who had received training for eight “positive thinking skills” were less depressed, and they were more compliant about taking their medications.

There is no real evidence that positive thinking or the emotional well-being of cancer patients helped them live longer or stopped the progression of cancer, although it may help them cope with their cancer treatment more effectively. A quality of life questionnaire was sent to 1,093 cancer patients by Dr. Coyne and his associates. These patients were part of a clinical trial. This ruled out other health disparities, and it ensured the uniformity of treatments.

Additionally, a 2010, study of 60,000 people who were followed for 30 years found no particular personality trait linking the risk of cancer or for cancer survival. Factors such as, smoking alcohol consumption and other known risk factors for cancer were taken into account.

Studies have shown that people living with chronic stress will ultimately “manifest a disease”. Chronic stress causes an increase in catecholamines, which can lead to severe bronchoconstriction in asthmatics, and it can cause an increase in stomach acid. This can lead to a peptic ulcer and other GI system diseases. The stress can also build up plaque in the coronary arteries.

The Power of Positivity

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Improving Positive Thinking Skills

Thinking is the keyword, as our thoughts determine our actions and reactions. If you are a negative thinker, it is possible to create some new healthy habits.

Some the ways to think in a more positive fashion include:

  1. Always be open to humor and laugh at yourself.
  2. Occasionally during the day stop and evaluate what you are actually thinking and put a positive spin on your thoughts.
  3. Choose a healthy lifestyle with exercise and a healthy diet.
  4. Learn stress management techniques.
  5. Keep positive people close by, and avoid negative people as they increase stress.
  6. Practice positive self-talk by not saying anything to yourself that you would not say to someone else.
  7. Think about the positive things in your life to increase gratitude.

If something comes up that you have never done before, do not automatically think it will be too hard. Use the experience as an opportunity to learn something new.

Practice meditation or prayer daily. Yoga is also something that will strengthen and give flexibility to your body, and it will also be relaxing.

Angry Man

Angry Man

Changing Negative Thinking

Do not magnify any negative aspects of your life, any chore or job. Find the positive aspects of any given situation if possible. Remember life keeps changing with ups and downs, but the the tough times typically do not last. If you see everything as black or white with no gray it does not help. Listening to those close to you when they try to encourage you, and do not think you have to be perfect.

Keep Working Towards Positivity

If you do have a more negative attitude and worry about every little thing, you will probably not change overnight. Just work to be less critical and accepting of circumstances in your life. If can you develop the ability to become more optimistic, you will be more capability of handling everyday problems without anger or stress.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2019 Pamela Oglesby


Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on March 16, 2020:

Hi Peggy,

You are right about the importance of positive thinking in this time of stress. I like your suggestions for focusing on the positive and they are important for healthy living in general.

Thanks for commenting, Peggy. Stay safe and healthy.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on March 16, 2020:

Hi Pamela,

This message is even more important to read now with the scare of the coronavirus pandemic spreading all across the world. There have been psychologists on television spreading the same word about positive thinking. That is one thing that we can do to help ourselves amidst this crisis.

Let's all watch movies or television shows that make us laugh. Let's get some fresh air and exercise outdoors, eat nutritious food, pray, and hope for the best.

Pinaki Goswami on April 22, 2019:

Thanks and regards mam.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on April 22, 2019:

Hello Pinakigoswami, I hope you have some other treatment for your hypertensions also. Thinking positive will help. I appreciate your comments.

Pinaki Goswami on April 21, 2019:

Very useful article. I am suffering from hypertension so this article will help me a lot to think positive and to reduce tension.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on April 08, 2019:

Hi Genna, I agree it is not always easy, but it is healthy.

I appreciate your comments. Have a great week!

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on April 07, 2019:

It isn't always easy to maintain positive thinking or attitudes -- but the benefits are undeniable. Such an enlightening article, Pamela. Thank you. Happy Sunday. :-)

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on April 04, 2019:

Hi RTalloni, I fully agree with you. God's word is everything and gives us full instructions as to how to live our lives. I usually don't write that as some people are not believers.

I think you are exactly right about what we might not realizing how many level are affected by evil or a great deal of stress in our lives. We need to trust God for all things in my opinion. Thank you so much for your comments.

RTalloni on April 04, 2019:

Such a neat read. I couldn't help but smile at "Scientists do not fully understand..." because when I first read your title I thought of how general principles for living found in God's Word teaches us to to be positive, and are pretty well summed up in Philippians 4:8 with "Finally, brethren, whatever is true...honorable...right...pure...lovely...of good repute...of excellence...worthy of praise, think on these things."

Stresses are a part of life, and God gives good instruction for addressing and dealing with them, but His principles for positivity are what sciences build advice such as you've written about on.

As on other topics, scientists who embrace His Word know the principle behind verses like Proverbs 4:23 and 23:7. God's general principles are good for everyone, stemming the tide of the effects of evil, including illnesses. The way we think, what we think, focusing on how to think all surely do matter on more levels than we realize.

Thanks for good reminders and tips to help us think positively. Life is too short to dismiss the importance of being as positive as possible.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on April 02, 2019:

Hi Liz, All we can do is strive to be more positive. This may be more difficult for some than others. I am glad you like the article. Thank you for your comments.

Liz Westwood from UK on April 02, 2019:

This is an encouraging and interesting article. It seems that trying to look on the bright side of life helps, but I like your realistic approach in acknowledging that this can be easier said than done.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on April 01, 2019:

Good morning John, It feels so good to have a positive attitude, and I really like the fact that it can improve health. I appreciate your comments.

John Hansen from Australia (Gondwana Land) on April 01, 2019:

What an inspirational article packed with great advice. I totally agree that positive thinking helps alleviate a lot of health concerns and helps us live a happier and healthier life. Thank you for sharing Pamela.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on April 01, 2019:

Hi Linda, I imagine we are all better off remembering to stay positive. Thank you for your comments.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on April 01, 2019:

Hi Alyssa, It sounds like you already have positive thinking and your major in college being cognitive psychology. I agree your mindset is everything, and I truly am grateful for your comments.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on March 31, 2019:

This is a very inspirational article, Pamela. Thank you for sharing the tips. I need to remember them.

Alyssa from Ohio on March 31, 2019:

I love this article so much, Pamela! I'm a firm believer in the power of positive thinking, the law of attraction, and I'm fascinated with cognitive psychology. (My major in college) Mindset is everything and how you speak to yourself matters. I love your scientific evidence of the health benefits that optimism offers. Thank you for sharing this!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on March 31, 2019:

Hi Eric, I sure didn't know you were a dancer and that is so cool. It sounds like so much fun. I always appreciate your comments.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on March 31, 2019:

When a stone is precious I like to come back and rub it some more. I was an assistant Gandy Dancer and part of a gang. To young even to be an apprentice. We put the cars together. You put love together and what a great train ride that is.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on March 31, 2019:

Hi Mel, I have heard of visualizing success, but I didn't think about that when writing this article. I do think that can be true, I suupose making a list of what can go wrong isn't all bad as long as you are still visualizing sucess. LOL

Thank you for your comments.

Mel Carriere from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on March 31, 2019:

I have often heard that the key to success is to visualize success. Being on a perpetual humbug, this is hard to do for me, because I keep making lists in my head of everything that can go wrong. This is great advice that everyone should take to heart. Wonderful article.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on March 31, 2019:

Hi, Pop, Laughter probably goes right along with a positive attitude as when you are happy you laugh. Even smiles have been proven to have a positive effect on health. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on March 31, 2019:

Hi Bill, You bring up a very good point as how we treat ourselves is very important. There was a I treated everyone else very well, but I didn't treat myself very well. I am glad to say I have a positive attitude and that has changed. Thanks for your comments.

Lorna Lamon on March 31, 2019:

Great article Pamela - really well covered. I certainly believe in the power of positive thinking and I always try to promote it in my daily life. Thank you for sharing.

breakfastpop on March 31, 2019:

I totally am on board with the power of positive thinking. I also believe that laughter has curative powers.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on March 31, 2019:

I am a big believer in the power of positive thinking,and I do believe it can improve our health,the way others treat us,and the way we treat ourselves. Wonderful message here, Pamela!

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on March 31, 2019:

Hi Maria, It is very good that research supports positive thinking. Having faith and spirituality lets you go through those stressful situations with a smile on your face. I appreciate your comments always and hope you are having a happy weekend too.

Love, Pam

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on March 31, 2019:

Hi Paula, I believe a attitude of tranquility is a great way to live. I think we just might think alike. I appreciate your comments.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on March 31, 2019:

Hi Eric, I like the way you explain your beliefs clearly as we are the choosen. I pray for your healing Eric, and you seem to live life to the fullest wth all your activities regardless of your health. I want you to have many more years to play with that precious son.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on March 31, 2019:

Hi Clive, It is a choice we all make. Thanks Clive.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on March 31, 2019:

Hi Flourish, I agree that humor is great to take your mind off problems. Thanks for commenting.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on March 31, 2019:

Hi Ms. Dora, You are absolutely right. I feel that you are probably positive most of the time. I appreciate your commenta.

Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on March 31, 2019:

Dear Pam,

I have long believed in the power of positive thinking - so lovely that research supports the physical and emotional benefits of this.

My faith and spirituality also help ground me in stressful times.

Hope you are having a wonderful weekend. Love, Maria

Suzie from Carson City on March 30, 2019:

Pamela....You are absolutely correct. Positive thinking...and an overall attitude of tranquility are the best things we can do for our general health. The bonus is that it's good for everyone around us too!

Speaking of..... I LOVE the way you think! Paula

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on March 30, 2019:

Pamela this is awesome.. I have issues that make me bad to the bone. We just played Soccer and then some football. My clarinet is due soon. God gave me no break. How fun is that? My family has heard of suffering, we look at it as interesting. Cancer is a bit of a bummer. But missing a catch is worse.

Why would we ever not grab life as a ride to joy? We are the chosen. How can we not chose the positive.

Clive Williams from Jamaica on March 30, 2019:

Your mind can kill or heal you. It is simply your choice,

FlourishAnyway from USA on March 30, 2019:

Great advice. I have found that humor is a terrific remedy to the stressors of the day and it takes my mind off big problems.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on March 30, 2019:

Who has not forgotten the aches or felt revived while listening to a positive upbeat speaker, or engaging in conversation with a friend who encourages? Thanks for reminding us of the benefits of positive thinking.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on March 30, 2019:

Hi Ruby, I live the same way you do with saying a little prayer when I need to be more positive. Being interested in living is the key to being happy I think. I appreciate your comments.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on March 30, 2019:

This is an excellent article with sound advice. I have my day's, but I do try to think positive. I find if I just stop and say a little prayer I feel better. Being interested in living is the key. Thank you for sharing.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on March 30, 2019:

Hi Peggy, Being around a positive person who smiles and jokes is a joy. Thank you for your kind comments. Hope you are having a good weekend.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on March 30, 2019:

This is such good advice, Pamela. Not only may it impact a person's life, but being around positive people is a joy.

Pamela Oglesby (author) from Sunny Florida on March 30, 2019:

Hello Falsal, Thank you so much for your comments.

Faisal Maqsood from Lahore Pakistan on March 30, 2019:

Brilliant article pamela .... great thought

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