Find out how cultivating a sense of optimism can improve your health.
Optimism is a hopeful and confident attitude about the future or a favorable outcome. This “glass-half-full” mentality can make you feel happier and improve your relationships, but it can also do wonders for your health – and even extend your life. The potential benefits of positive thinking include:
- Fortifies your immune system
- Bolsters your ability to cope with stress
- Lowers your risk of heart disease
- Reduces rates of depression
- Lengthens your lifespan
Let’s take a closer look at each of these potential benefits to establish the importance of positive thinking in your life.
1. Fortifies your immune system
Our thoughts may have the power to strengthen or weaken our immune system. In a study of first-year law students, an influx of positive and optimistic attitudes triggered a greater immune response to an invasion of foreign viruses and bacteria. Other research found that people who were more energetic, happy, and relaxed were less likely to catch a cold than those who experienced a more pessimistic attitude marked by depression, nervousness, or anger.
2. Bolsters your ability to cope with stress
If you find yourself in a stressful situation, try finding the positive side of what you’re going through. Is there a hidden gift in your experience? Have you grown or learned something new about yourself during this tough period? With practice, you may find that reaching for optimism in times of stress or uncertainty will become easier, and you may develop an ability to cope better with future stressors that come your way.
Check out these 7 additional stress-relieving activities for adults here.
3. Lowers your risk of heart disease
Another one of the benefits of positive thinking is that it may lead to a healthier heart. Even if you have a family history of heart disease, Johns Hopkins researchers found that positive thinking can make you as much as one-third less likely to suffer a heart attack or other coronary event.
In addition to thinking positively, nourish your heart with these heart-healthy foods you’ll love.
4. Reduces rates of depression
Having a sunny disposition may also be a natural mood lifter. In fact, clinical experts cite lower rates of depression and distress among the many benefits of positive thinking. Researchers have also found that optimism, along with gratitude, can also be an effective part of treatment for depressive symptoms.
5. Lengthens your lifespan
Not only can thinking good vibes make you healthier, but it may also extend your life. One study showed that people with a positive attitude toward aging lived an average of 7.5 years longer. In addition to a stronger immune system and lower stress, researchers believe that seeing the bright side may lengthen your lifespan because it inspires you to be proactive about your health and increases your will to live.
How to cultivate positive thinking habits
Embracing the importance of positive thinking can help you foster a zest for life. Note that it doesn’t have to mean smiling, laughing, and being happy all the time. Instead, positivity and optimism are simply commitments to look on the bright side when you can, and try to seek contentment every day. Meditation, journaling, spending time with family and friends, and making time for hobbies you love are all great opportunities to fuel your brain and body with joy and positivity.
Staying in touch with loved ones is another way to keep a positive outlook on life. If you experience hearing loss, explore how a CapTel captioned telephone can help you catch every word.
For more tips on healthy living, read more health and wellness articles on our blog.