Guest blog by Nicole Aurelio.
For a long time now, science has been quietly on the side of positive thinking. Cynics might tell you that it’s all New Age spiritual mumbo-jumbo, but that’s not true at all. In fact, science shows you are better off when you hold on to happy thoughts and keep an optimistic view of life than your peers who always choose to feel glum.
A plethora of scientific research has been done to provide cold, hard evidence that positive thinking makes people truly healthier and happier. Take a look at the following health benefits of positive thinking below.
1. It slows down aging and extends your life.
Research published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal shows older people who enjoy their lives less are 80% more likely to experience functional problems, such as less mobility, falling, and incontinence. This finding is supplemented by a separate study in JAMA Psychiatry, which shows that optimistic adults are 55% less likely to die earlier than their gloomier counterparts.
2. It strengthens your immune system.
Scientists have yet to discover the exact physiological mechanism that makes this possible. However, current scientific research proves positive thinkers have a stronger immune system and are better equipped to fight off bad bacteria and viruses. A study published in Psychological Science shows how positive-thinking law students were able to ward off the common cold more easily than students who had a bleaker outlook in life.
3. It keeps your heart healthy.
Developing positive thinking, whether through meditation, relaxation, or writing every day in a gratitude journal, strengthens your heart and helps prevent cardiovascular diseases. One study in Circulation shows positive people are less prone to accumulating plaque buildup in the arteries and developing coronary heart disease. Subsequent research published in the same journal shows they are also far less likely to experience a heart failure.
4. It reduces stress and its negative effects.
Several studies have shown that people who make a habit of thinking positively are better able to cope with stressful times. They also feel less stressed overall. Positive thinkers also feel more confident with themselves and are less likely to feel depressed when facing stressful life events. One study published in the Journal of Counseling Psychology shows that positive thinkers are generally happier than people who look at the glass half-empty.
5. It improves fertility for both men and women.
Positive thinking relieves stress, and science proves that relieving stress can improve your chances of getting pregnant. In research published in the International Journal of Fertility, scientists discovered that infertile couples felt more stressed than fertile ones. Furthermore, in another study published in the Oxford Journals, women reported feeling less stressed on the month of conception, which supports the idea that feeling calm and relaxed is a key component of fertility.
Nicole Aurelio is a fitness and health writer, researcher, and enthusiast. She works out in the morning, writes the whole day, and curls up with a good book at night. Visit Fitness Atrium for more of her articles, or you can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.