Repetitive negative thinking has now been linked to dementia. A study showed that those who ruminated about the past and worried about the future, had more tau and beta amyloid deposits in their brain, which cause Alzheimer’s. It also showed that cognitive decline was greater if there was anxiety and depression.
This is just another example of how emotional health affects our physical health. Positivity is also linked to:
- better quality of life
- higher energy levels
- better emotional and physical health
- faster recovery from injury or illness
- fewer colds
- less depression
- better stress management and coping skills
- longer life span
Remedies if you are at risk, include mental training practices, acceptance & commitment therapy, meditation, mindfulness, cognitive behavioural therapy, practising gratitude, reframing and journaling a positive image of yourself. It’s possible to “train your brain”, with another study showing that only 30 minutes of daily meditation practice over a fortnight results in measurable changes in the brain.
So it pays to be a glass half full!
What’s more, positive people suffer less risk of death from cardiovascular disease, have stronger immune systems and better lung function. More generally, positivity is related to better problem-solving and coping skills.
Things to do right away:
- Focus on the good things, no matter how small they are
- Practise gratitude – reduces stress and builds resilience
- Keep a gratitude journal – improves well being and optimism
- Find and share humour – improves coping skills and reduces stress
- Connect with positive people – improves self-esteem and goal achievement
- Don’t be self-critical – helps regulate feelings, thoughts and behaviours
- Start every day with a positive note – use prayer, music, meditation, exercise or a complement to start the day.