Scientists, who are studying the neuroplasticity of the brain, are discovering how much our thoughts really do shape our brain and our health. In an earlier article, I shared how different forms of meditation change the structure of the brain. This isn’t surprising because thoughts have physical properties. Every thought sends electrical signals through your brain, which in turn influences every cell of the body. Learning to control negative thinking is one of the most effective ways to have better health.
What health benefits may positive thinking provide?
- Increase your life span
- Lessen depression
- Lessen distress
- Gain a greater resistance to the common cold
- Create better psychological and physical well-being
- Reduce risk of cardiovascular disease
- Improve coping skills during times of stress
But why exactly does positive thinking cause these improvements? Science is still researching this question, yet we do know that there are a number of reasons…
- Positive people take better care of themselves – they eat a healthier diet, exercise regularly and get plenty of rest.
- They avoid unhealthy behaviors such as overeating, smoking, and risky sex, which protects the body from debilitating diseases.
- An optimistic outlook lowers the level of cortisol associated with inflammation and raises the chemical that fosters communication between the two halves of the brain.
- A can-do attitude generates a sense of empowerment and confidence in your abilities in contrast to the self-defeating I-can’t attitude.
- The qualities of forgiveness, resilience, commitment, challenge, and control combat the harmful feelings of hopelessness, bitterness, resentment, anger and cynicism.
- Optimistic people are more fun to be around, so they have better relationships with friends and family.
Positive thinking often starts with how you talk to yourself. The best advice is to only say things to yourself that you would say to a dear friend. When a negative thought enters your head, use positive affirmation to replace it. This will keep your brain chemistry in balance.
If you find you’re being controlled by habitually negative patterns of thinking, it’s time to seek professional help. If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA, please contact my office and schedule an appointment. Healing everyday thought patterns is crucial to gaining optimum health.