How Does Positive Thinking Reduce Stress?
You’ve heard positive thinking can have an amazingly powerful effect on your life, but maybe you’re not buying into all that “good thoughts” power stuff. You need proof. Exactly how does positive thinking reduce stress? What really happens inside your body when you adopt a positive as opposed to negative way of thinking? Let’s take a look at positive thinking and stress.
The Mayo Clinic reports that using positive thinking as a stress management tool can lead to the following benefits:
- You live longer
- Instances of depression and anxiety are reduced
- Your natural defense system is boosted
- You do not catch as many colds (seriously)
- You develop excellent coping skills
- A lower risk of heart disease and heart related death
For some of us, it’s difficult to believe those benefits can come about simply by having a positive attitude. It’s not really the positive attitude in and of itself that gives you those benefits. What provides the benefit is the true and honest perception of reality positive thinkers enjoy which reduces stress and then leads to those benefits.
For instance, people with a positive mindset most often see the world as it is. They apply no negative filters or preconceived beliefs about existence or fear of the future. They understand the mantra of mindfulness meditation, which is to focus on and to live in the moment.
When you look at the world as a “now” experience, no pointless future-guessing and past negative experiences can influence your mindset and your actions. Science has shown positive thinkers actually see more possibilities in their lives than do negative thinkers.
When you believe there are limitless possibilities and opportunities and you look at the world through no negative filters, you can be calm and peaceful, even in the face of difficult situations. Stressing over what may happen is one of the biggest worries of the negative thinker. This never happens with someone who fosters positive beliefs.
Positive thinkers don’t waste time creating negative, scary possible “what if ” scenarios either. Instead, they see only the present moment with very clear vision; then they choose a course of action that will deliver a positive result.
The process is actually very simple.
When your ancient ancestors encountered stress, it was often a truly life or death situation. What we call today the “fight or flight” reflex tells your brain that you are in a very stressful situation or in actual danger. Unfortunately this built-in reflex still kicks in today, even when what you perceive as stress has a limited or nonexistent impact on your life.
Your body still releases stress hormones and chemicals that quicken your pulse, speed up your heart rate and make you see just about everything as a possible threat. Positive thinkers view the world with a very clear focus, so their bodies naturally create fewer stressful situations. This ability allows them to enjoy fewer heart problems, less stress, fewer anxiety and nervous problems, and a healthier, longer life.
It’s a benefit to your mental and physical health to adopt a habit and lifestyle of positive thinking. For some of us, it takes some work to switch from fear and negativity to a positive outlook. I assure you it’s worth the effort!
Helping You Achieve Major Wellness!
Cheryl A Major, CNWC
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