The Health Benefits of Positivity

While many scientists agree that there’s a link between mental health and physical health, we’re still learning a lot about the mind-body connection and how it works. One area of this study that’s still developing is the way your emotional attitude can affect your physiological health. While it’s common sense that a positive outlook can’t hurt, research is beginning to show that a positive attitude may actually lead to a healthier body. Here’s a quick look at some of the things that positivity might help with.

Cope with Difficult News
Experts like Judith Moskowitz, a professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, are on the search for a connection between positive thinking and positive health outcomes. In research she conducted at UCSF, Moskowitz and her team discovered that people newly diagnosed with H.I.V. who practiced skills that foster positivity carried a lower viral load, were more likely to take medication, and were less likely to need medication for depression than their counterparts who didn’t practice positivity exercises.

Live Longer
Some research suggests that people who have a positive outlook might actually live longer than those with a predisposition towards negativity. In a study published in the Journal of Gerontology, researchers at the Yale School of Public Health found that patients with a positive outlook on aging had lower levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of stress-related inflammation. Patients with the lower levels of C-reactive protein ended up living longer than those with higher levels.

Reduce Stress
In another study conducted by Dr. Moskowitz, patients with Type 2 diabetes were administered an online version of a positive skills training course. The study showed that this training effectively reduced negativity and feelings of stress. According to the study, this positivity “predicts improved glycemic control and longevity in adults,” mainly because the positive people tended to exercise more, stick to their diet plans, take their medication, and avoid smoking.

How can you get some of this positive stuff happening in your own life? Check out this post [link to initial post] for a few ideas.

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