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Kent Probst, BS, MEd
Kent Probst is the owner of Long Healthy Life Blog
10 Benefits of Positive Thinking: Why They’re Important
Besides living a long, healthy life, the 10 benefits of positive thinking are important because of the improved quality of life they bring.
People generally prefer to be around other people who consistently think positively and are optimistic.
Furthermore, positive thinking can help you become more successful throughout your life.
If you’re struggling with trying to incorporate more positive thinking into your life, the benefits of positive thinking can move the needle in the right direction.
“The mind is everything. What you think, you become.” – Buddha
10 Benefits of Positive Thinking: How They Help
1. Lower Stress Levels
Let’s face it – stress is a fact of life.
There are many sources of stress in our lives, but if you let stress overwhelm you, it can result in many health problems.
One of the 10 benefits of positive thinking is to keep stress at a level where it doesn’t have an adverse effect on your health.
Consider adding self-care activities such as meditation, spending time with nature, journaling and massage as ways of managing stress in your life.
2. Longer Healthspan
Finding meaning and purpose in your life can be a powerful antidote to the adverse events that occur over the course of your life.
A Yale University study found that individuals who had the most positive self perceptions of aging lived 7.5 years longer than those who had negative perceptions of aging.
Other researchers have found that having a purpose in life resulted in better physical and mental health outcomes.
Some examples of finding your passion may include promoting a charitable cause, finding a second career, taking up a creative hobby, or enjoying and looking forward to life’s simple pleasures.
3. Less Depression and Sadness
The benefits of positive thinking can be a powerful antidote for depression. Meditation is an effective way to improve positive thinking.
Focus on your breathing and try clearing your mind of any thoughts for 30 minutes a day. Become present in the moment.
If you’ve just started meditating, be patient. It takes a little time to get good at it.
But once you get the hang of it, the results will have a noticeable effect on your life.
4. Improved Productivity
Research at the University of Michigan demonstrated that people who exhibited positive thinking had better problem solving skills than people who exhibited negative thinking.
The participants who were shown negative images produced fewer solutions to problems than the group of people who were shown positive images.
Research has also shown that positive emotions increase levels of dopamine which is responsible for motivation, cognitive function, and clear thinking.
5. Improved Coping Skills
Not only do the benefits of positive thinking include improved problem solving, but they also affect the efficacy of how well you handle psychological stress.
People who demonstrate consistent positive thinking are more likely to use healthy coping skills than unhealthy ones.
6. Improved Immune Function
People who consistently have positive expectations about the future, generally have better immune responses to stressful situations.
During a three month study, people in the optimistic group had better immune responses to short term stress (one week) than people in the pessimistic group.
7. More Satisfying Relationships
Another benefit of positive thinking that people often don’t consider is having more meaningful relationships.
Emotional support may be just as integral as diet and exercise in promoting healthy aging.
Meaningful relationships can help stave off depression that can result from spending a significant amount of time alone.
Sources of building a social network:
- Group exercise
- Hobby groups
- Book clubs
- Dog parks
- Neighborhood groups
Having a social support network to help you through the tough times will go a long way.
8. Less Anxiety
Because too much stress can be dangerous and damaging to your body and health, it’s important to be able to identify it.
Signs and symptoms that you may be over-stressed include:
- Physical and mental exhaustion
- Isolation from social relationships and events
- Difficulty sleeping
- Irritability or frequent mood swings
- Frequently getting sick
- Difficulty losing weight
- Hormonal changes, which may look like skin issues, changes in your menstrual cycle, poor digestion, etc
9. Better Leadership Skills
Although not iron clad proof, positive leadership styles tend to have better outcomes than what we typically perceive as negative leadership styles.
Leaders who are positive thinkers tend to be more resilient, more competent in social situations, and better problem solvers.
Traits of positive thinking leaders include:
- Emotional stability
10. Reduced Risk of Heart Disease
Positive thinking often results in better health habits, such as a healthy diet, better sleep, and avoidance of smoking, all which contribute to protection against cardiovascular risk factors.
Having a positive psychological outlook is associated with better cardiovascular health and improved outcomes in people with existing cardiovascular disease.
Whereas, decades of research demonstrates a link between negative behavior and hostility, depression, and anxiety.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of pessimism. It takes work to consistently think positively, but the rewards of optimism are much greater than pessimism.
When you find yourself thinking negatively, think about how much better you’ll feel thinking positively.
You’ll accomplish more and become healthier and happier with positive thinking.
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