“Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." - Abraham Lincoln
I don’t know how many conversations I have had with people about their health and exercise routines that often turn into conversations about why they cannot participate in a certain activity. When I try to put a positive spin on the situation, the response I get is “You are young, you don’t understand.” I realize I am younger than the folks I work with and do not totally understand what it means to get older with a body that wants to do the opposite of what I want to do. But, I shouldn’t be totally disregarded, as I do have an idea of how difficult it can be. After all, I have worked with people with ailments since I was old enough to have a paying job. Plus, I have experienced the unfortunate event of orthopedic surgeries and physical therapies to get back on my feet.
I have been told multiple times that I smile a lot and they wonder why I am in such a good mood so early in the morning. My answer is typically “Why not?” I am lucky that I have been given the “upbeat” predisposition. Whether it’s through helping someone with their exercise routine or stopping to have a conversation that strikes their interest, I will do what works to help a person’s day go a little better. Too often do people walk through the halls to their apartment with their head down or worse, responding to a “good morning” with “oh is it?” There really is a term that works, which is “fake it till you make it”. Which means do what you have to do to make yourself believe it really is a good day.
So what does this have to do with anything health and wellness related, you ask? Well, there have been numerous observances and studies focusing on how a positive or negative attitude affects a person’s health and recovery.
The Mayo Clinic has given us a list of health benefits that come with positive thinking.
Researchers continue to explore effects of positive thinking and optimism on health. The benefits that positive thinking may provide include:
- Increased life span
- Lower rates of depression
- Lower levels of distress
- Greater resistance to the common cold
- Better psychological and physical well-being
- Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
- Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress
It's unclear why people who engage in positive thinking experience these health benefits. One theory is that having a positive outlook enables you to cope better with stressful situations, which reduces the harmful health effects of stress on your body. It's also thought that positive and optimistic people tend to live healthier lifestyles — they get more physical activity and follow a healthier diet.”
Think of the most negative thinker you know… Now, take into consideration the list above. When I think of the negative thinkers in my life, once something “bad” has happened, they are immediately ranting about it, even long after the situation is over. The more they talk about it, the more intense the story tends to get. When they dwell on it, it seems as though they become distressed over the situation. Sometimes it seems like the same thing tends to happen to them and they become depressed saying “why me?” If depression becomes a factor, then as time goes on, depression starts affecting our health. It’s easy to think negatively about most situations, which causes stress because you are upset about it, that can cause the person to have high blood pressure, high blood pressure results in heart conditions, which is detrimental to your overall health.
Basically, negative thinking can have a snowball effect. Once one part of your life is affected, multiple parts may fall into the same pattern. Before you know it, it has caused much more trouble than you ever thought it would with your personal health and worksite wellness.
After reading this, do you think you are negative or positive thinker? Do you agree with the affects a negative attitude has on your body? Stay tuned for part two, where we will offer questions to ask yourself to help determine if you are negative thinker and what to try to turn your mindset around. Until then, stay positive!