For thousands of years, philosophers and scientists have preached the many benefits of maintaining a positive attitude. When we talk about a positive attitude, it doesn’t mean you have to be joyful all of the time no matter the circumstances. If anything, that would mean ignoring reality and could actually be unhealthy. Instead, a healthy positive attitude involves an active appreciation for yourself and those around you. It’s an emphasis on enjoying the little things, listening to what your mind is telling you, keeping company that makes you happy, and allowing love into your life wherever you can.
Benefits of a positive attitude
While scientists are still trying to find a clear physiological link between a positive attitude and physical wellness, there are plenty of correlations that give us hope that we’ll be able to point to that link someday. Johns Hopkins cardiovascular disease expert Lisa M. Yanek M.P.H. and her team found that even in a population of study participants who had family history of heart disease, those who maintain a positive attitude were one third less likely to suffer a heart attack within 25 years than those who don’t maintain a positive attitude. The prevailing notion among scientists is that a positive attitude better equips you to handle stress, which means the inflammatory response to it is not so severe.
Here are some more physical benefits of a positive attitude from the Mayo Clinic:
- Increased life span
- Lower rates of depression
- Lower levels of distress
- Greater resistance to the common cold
- Better psychological and physical well-being
- Better cardiovascular health and reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
- Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress
Tips for Cultivating a Positive Attitude
A positive attitude is like a muscle, the more it’s used and trained, the stronger and more effective it will be. Everyone has this muscle, but it’s much more defined in those who have built it up. Here are some exercises to strengthen your positive attitude.
Start by Recognizing Your Patterns of Negative Thinking
Your negative thinking ‘muscle’ strengthens with use, too. So, it’s important to recognize when you’re using a negative attitude so that you can change up your mindset to a more positive outlook.
- If you find yourself complaining about something, consider if it’s truly worth your energy to worry about or if that worry is doing more harm than practical good.
- Another symptom of a negative attitude is looking at situations in extremes. If it’s not good enough to be perfect, then it’s bad. Everything is flawed in some way. Being able to see the bad but still appreciate the good is a strong step toward a positive attitude – and a happier life.
Training Your Positive Attitude
A strong positive attitude starts with how you treat yourself, then you’ll see it radiate out to others. The most important part of a positive attitude is how you talk to yourself.
- Learn to appreciate the good things about yourself. Look at how you brighten the lives of others, and realize your unique, good qualities.
- Give yourself a break in tough situations. If you’re struggling with something, putting yourself down only makes things worse. Give yourself time to get over whatever hurdle you’re experiencing.
- Find the good in a bad situation, even if it’s just that things could always be worse. A flat tire on a hot day seems like a no-win situation, but there are much worse (and expensive) problems that car could have. In this case, it’s good fortune that it was just a tire and not an engine problem.
At Vibrant Life Senior Living, we’re all about enjoying a fulfilling life for as long as possible. We hope that you can use these tips to strengthen your positive attitude and get the most that life has to offer for many years to come. If you’ve got any questions about getting rid of a negative attitude and replacing it with a positive one, click on the ‘Talk to Us’ button at the top-right corner of our website and send us a message! We would love to help.