Guest Post: Benefits of Staying Positive by Jacob Edward
Benefits of Staying Positive
Why Staying Positive Matters
Researchers have come out with countless studies showing that staying positive is good not only for wellbeing but for physical and mental health. The reason they think that the positive thinkers fair better in the long run is because they are better equipped to deal with stress and stressful situations. The positive thinkers recover much faster from stress and in general have no long term effects associated. Stress is very dangerous and can lead to many ailments. These can include fatigue, headaches, weight gain, inflammation, and insomnia just to name a few. Staying positive is one of the main keys to eliminating the harmful and long lasting effects day-to-day stress.
Focus on the Positive
There are many situations where individuals get stressed but the most stressful events are those that have the ability to permanently affect and/or alter our lives. A situation such as losing a job or missing payments on a mortgage can be very stressful. The difference between a positive and a negative thinker is that the positive thinkers tries to focus on the positive and what they can change whereas the negative thinkers focuses on what they can’t change. The best to get through a very stressful situation is to believe you can make it through. Create a goal or a solution and work towards the goal or solution little by little until the achievement is met.
Life Events, Attitude and Overall Health
Harvard researchers using the graduating class of 1944-1945 conducted one of the original and most notable studies into the effects of positivity and negativity on health. The researchers presented the graduating class with a survey and the researchers rated the class’ answers to the survey. They found a surprising correlation. Those who started off positive and remained positive as well as those who started off negative and switched to positive in early adulthood faired the best from a health standpoint. On the corollary, those who started off negative and stayed negative and those who started off positive and switched to negative responses faired the worst in terms of overall health.
Why Does Pessimism Lead to Harmful Health Consequences?
As the study suggests, long lasting pessimism can lead to health issues down the road. The reason for many of these health issues is that the body produces a hormone called cortisol in a stressful situation. The problem is that cortisol, a hormone originally meant to protect and keep our ancestors alert, can easily be produced in by our bodies in the environment we live and work in. A small confrontation with a significant other or a being yelled at by your boss can trigger a cortisol release. According to the Mayo Clinic, long term increased levels of cortisol can lead to decreased immune function, heart disease, diabetes, low bone density, obesity and depression.
A Case Study on Optimism
One more famous case study performed by Dr Dennis Charney of Mount Sinai School of Medicine had 750 veterans with and without post-traumatic stress disorder complete a survey which had them list pre-selected qualities about themselves. They ranked qualities about themselves. He found that the veterans that did not have PTSD had one thing in common. At the top of their list they listed optimism as an important quality. Also, near the top of their lists were selflessness, humor and a belief in a higher power. He also noted that they believed there was meaning behind their lives and actions – all part of a positive outlook.
Jacob Edward is the manager of ALTCS.com and Prime Medical Alert in Phoenix Arizona. Jacob founded both companies in 2007 and has helped many Arizona seniors and their families navigate the process of long term care planning. Senior Planning provides assistance to seniors and the disabled finding and arranging assisted living in Phoenix, as well as applying for state and federal benefits. In his spare time, Jacob enjoys dining out and supporting his alma mater Arizona State's Sun Devil sports teams. Jacob lives in Tempe Arizona.