Thinking your way to better health
As the Mental Health Awareness Month of May rounds up, increase in instances of anxiety, depression, and various other forms of mental illness have been brought to the forefront.
There’s this theory that positive thinking and having a positive outlook on life enables people to cope better when dealing with stressful situations.
It also reduces the harmful health effects of stress on the body, thus creating lasting life changes in self-esteem, self-confidence, improving one’s attitude and ultimately, one’s mental health.
Positive thinking is a mental attitude in which you expect good and favourable results.
To think positively doesn’t mean that only good things will happen to you, it does not mean that you will never get sick, neither does it mean that you will never have to face difficulties.
No, that would be unrealistic! Positive thinking is an attitude to life.
It means that when life hits you with a bad blow, you will be able to approach such negative circumstances with optimism and therefore avert the detrimental health effect of the circumstances.
Research shows the benefits of positive thinking to include; long life, low depression rate, improved cardiovascular health (therefore decreasing death caused by heart disease), improved mental and physical health, lowered levels of distress, improved immunity, ability to cope better during times of stress etc.
Here are five ways to apply Positive Thinking daily:
1. Practice positive self-talk. Otherwise known as positive affirmations, try to repeat positive phrases to yourself daily such as, ‘My body is healed,’ ‘I am healthy,’ or ‘I am strong.’
For example, someone suffering from an ailment could benefit from this positive self-talk.
Not just saying it, but also believing that these phrases are true, and visualizing that you are in fact healed and healthy again, these statements send signals to the brain that would help a patient heal faster and even if they don’t attain full recovery, they are able to have a more positive outlook on life.
2. Surround yourself with positive people. Negative people have a tendency to magnify the negative aspects of a situation causing you to experience unnecessary stress.
Make it a point of duty to always surround yourself with supportive people who are able to help you become optimistic and offer advice on how to pull out the positives in any situation.
3. Be open to humour. Whoever said laughter is the best medicine knew exactly what they were talking about.
Even in difficult situations, when you are able to laugh at yourself, you essentially eliminate the stress and anxiety that come with such tough situations.
For example, a woman that may be finding it difficult to conceive, may just say to herself.
‘At least, I have more time to maintain my figure,’ or ‘I can enjoy my husband a little more.’ These are all coping mechanisms that come with positive thinking and helps to maintain a sound mind.
4. Think of failure as an opportunity. Sometimes in life, we will suffer disappointments.
It is better to turn that disappointment around and use that as an opportunity to do something greater.
For instance, you lost your job; instead of going into depression, it is better to start thinking of starting up your own business.
Perhaps, you may now have more time to get that Master’s degree or have time to expand your small business.
Try to see every set back as a set up for a bigger come back. That is what positive people do and that is why they live long.
5. Follow a healthy lifestyle: Try to avoid junk foods, and eat nourishing foods that would help fuel the body and mind.
Also aim to exercise at least three to four times a week. A healthy diet and exercise can positively affect one’s mood and is an effective stress management technique.
Have you heard of the Placebo effect? Where a person is given a ‘fake pill’ and that person believes that the pill has the ability to heal him/her and it does just that.
The belief in that pill helps to bring about real physical health changes. This is the power of positive thinking. Just as we try to eat right and exercise to improve physical health, mental health is also very important and should not be neglected.
Positive thinking is a good exercise for mental wellness and we should all consciously try to incorporate it into our daily life and see how much better you would feel.
Disclaimer: The medical information provided here is for information resource only.
This information does not create any patient-physician relationship and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.
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