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Health Benefits of Positive Thinking


Positive thinking is linked to a wide range of health benefits including:

  • Better stress management and coping skills

  • Enhanced psychological health

  • Greater resistance to the common cold

  • Increased physical well-being

  • Longer life span

  • Lower rates of depression

  • Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease-related death

One study of 1,558 older adults found that positive thinking could also reduce frailty during old age.

A 2018 study published in the Journal of Aging Research found that having a positive mental attitude was linked to decreased mortality over 35 years. People who had a more positive outlook were also more likely to get regular physical exercise, avoid smoking, eat a healthier diet, and get more quality sleep.

Clearly, there are many benefits of positive thinking, but why exactly does positive thinking have such a strong impact on physical and mental health.

One theory is that people who think positively tend to be less affected by stress. Research suggests that having more positive automatic thoughts helps people become more resilient in the face of life's stressful events. People who had high levels of positive thinking were more likely to walk away from stressful life events with a higher sense of the meaningfulness of life.

Another possibility is that people who think positively tend to live healthier lives in general; they may exercise more, follow a more nutritious diet, and avoid unhealthy behaviours.

How to Practice Positive Thinking

While you might be more prone to negative thinking, there are strategies that you can use to become a more positive thinker. Practising these strategies regularly can help you get in the habit of maintaining a more positive outlook on life.

  • Notice your thoughts: Start paying attention to the type of thoughts you have each day. If you notice that many of them are negative, make a conscious effort to reframe how you are thinking more positively.

  • Write in a gratitude journal: Practicing gratitude can have a range of positive benefits and it can help you learn to develop a better outlook. Experiencing grateful thoughts helps people to feel more optimistic.

  • Use positive self-talk: How you talk to yourself can play an important role in shaping your outlook. Studies have shown that shifting to more positive self-talk can have a positive impact on your emotions and how you respond to stress.


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