“She is such a positive person.”
“Why are you so negative all the time?”
According to research, optimistic people live longer than those who are pessimistic — possibly up to 15 per cent longer as a matter of fact. That is quite a difference.
Some may argue that optimistic people have more to be optimistic about than negative people (like their present situation of more money, a better relationship or a good job). Others may argue that those good things happen because they are “positive by nature.” Either way, your thoughts affect your health and longevity.
You may have also heard the phrase, “Negativity breeds negativity.” Research is telling us that this is true as well. Apparently, our brain function rewires to more negative thoughts, the more we complain. If this is true, then thinking positive should do the opposite.
We have all learned new tasks at some point in our lives; hammering a nail, playing a guitar, or doing math. The more we do it, the better we get. Our brains adapt through repetition and the need to become more efficient. This is not always a good thing. When we constantly have negative thoughts, our brains develop neural networks and pathways to get there faster too. For negative nellies, there is almost a reflex to the negative side of almost every situation.
How does this affect our health?
Physiologically, negativity can increase the body’s stress hormone (cortisol), blood pressure and heart rate increases, and muscles become more tense. This may be okay for a short-term negative thought, in a “fight or flight” situation, however chronic negativity will more than likely contribute to chronic disease states, like heart disease. Chronic negativity may also affect digestive and immune function as well.
Our brains are constantly learning and adapting to its environment. Brains can rewire (neuroplasticity) in both good and bad ways at any age. The good news is that we can control much of this through our thoughts.
Self-directed neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to rewire itself through your own active thought process and behaviour.
If you find yourself to be the, “get off my lawn!!” sort of person who hates all politicians, drivers and finds fault in all co-workers, your health may be suffering. The good news is that through mindful positive thinking and more gratitude, you can mould your brain to allow you to be more of a positive thinker.
Think well and prosper! I am positive it will work.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication.