I read an interesting article recently. Not the first of its kind, but the kind one that needs to read every few months. It was an editorial piece on how optimists live longer and are generally more healthy than pessimists. There is actual science behind this claim and it seems to be fairly solid. If you have nothing to do on a Friday night, search for optimism and health in PubMed. You will find a plethora of research articles validating this idea.
Positive thinking affects how you react to stressful situations, both emotionally and physically. Your body responds to stress by increasing the production of certain hormones which actually changes the action of some of your vital functions. These hormones increase your heart rate and slow digestion. You can read more on the physiological effects of stress in this article. The good news is that this physical reaction doesn't have to be detrimental. Positive thinking and optimism has been shown to have significantly good effects on health!!
Here are a few of my own tips to thinking positive and being optimistic:
1. Avoid negative media. The world will not fall apart if you aren't up to speed on the latest crisis.
2. Start your day on a positive note. Write down 3 things for which you are grateful.
3. Practice seeing the good. It is there, but sometimes you need to really look. Even if a situation is horrific, there are always good people and inspirational stories in the midst of it.
4. Accept that you are not perfect, and that is perfectly fine! The imperfections in life are what make it interesting and fun.
5. Laugh. Laugh loud and laugh often. Laugh at yourself and at seemingly impossible circumstances. There is nothing that will change your attitude like finding the humor in stressful situations.
Enjoy this day and every other. Remember the reason we work so hard is to enjoy a good life. It doesn't take long in the health care field to realize that good health is the most important thing we can desire. It is a gift. Being optimistic not only gives us a good health, but it is also the greatest way to live!
Be Healthy and Practice Safely!