Studies have shown that being a positive thinker can have a beneficial impact on both your physical and mental health.
One study of 70,000 women conducted from 2004 to 2012 found that women who were optimistic had a significantly lower risk of dying from several major causes of death, including heart disease, stroke, infection, respiratory diseases, and even some types of cancer.
Positive thinking doesn’t make all of your problems disappear, but it does make them less overwhelming and more manageable, leading to feelings of wellbeing.
Other proven benefits of positive thinking include:
Higher energy levels
Positive thoughts produce endorphins, which leads to an increase in energy. An article on Forbes quoted Jessica Pryce-Jones, who said that “people who are happiest at work have 180% more energy than their least happy colleagues.” So positivity makes a huge difference to energy levels!
Faster recovery from injury/illness
Positivity has also been shown to lead to faster recovery from injury and illness. For example, research has shown that patients who believed they would recover well after surgery actually experienced less pain and faster recovery!
The reasons for this are not fully known, but scientists theorise that it may be because:
- Positive thinkers feel less stress, meaning less inflammation in the body, so the body is able to heal quicker.
- People who are positive thinkers tend to focus more on long-term goals, and may be more likely to follow aftercare advice and stick with treatment.
- As we discuss below, the immune system is weakened by negative emotions, so keeping positive ensures the best immune response!
Increased immunity (fewer colds)
In recent years, researchers have discovered that your mind can have a powerful effect on your body.
One study showed that negative emotions led to a weaker immune response to the flu vaccine. Another study found that people with a positive attitude were less likely to catch colds than those who were depressed, nervous, or angry.
A longer life span
Research has found that people with a positive mindset have an 11-15% longer lifespan, and are more likely to live past 85!
It’s not known exactly why this happens, but it’s suggested that it could be because positive people tend to set goals and have more confidence to reach them, are good at problem-solving, and they’re often better at regulating their emotions in stressful situations.