The Importance of a Positive Mental Attitude in Developing Good Health
The rapid expansion of pragmatic and empirical evidence that supports the scientific theory of Psychosomatics is leading to an increasing number of healthcare experts confirming the massive impact that having a positive mental attitude has on the overall health of humans. Psychosomatics is the study of the manner in which the mind directly impacts the physical health of the body. For years, scientists and medical professionals have been aware of the power of a person’s mental mindset to impact their health. Now, the knowledge is becoming more widespread.
According to studies conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health, having an optimistic perspective concerning life in general resulted in the lowering of risk factors associated with heart disease in older men. Additionally, the University of Pittsburg revealed that a positive mental attitude in women reduced the risk of thickening carotid artery walls. There are literally thousands of articles in numerous popular medical, health and news journals that illuminate the power of a positive mental attitude to aid in improving the quality of life and physical health.
Reducing Stress Levels
One of the most destructive forces against human health is chronic stress. All humans experience some form of mental stress throughout the day; however, the vast majority of these encounters with stress is what is known as acute stress, which include things such as the frustration that is created by being cut off on the expressway, or delayed by traffic. Acute mental stress rarely has any negative impact on physical health due to the fact that it is short lived; however, chronic stress, such as worrying about a home foreclosure, divorce or job situation, places constant mental strain on the human thought process, and it is this type of stress that slowly attacks the human body.
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When a person experiences a certain stressful moment, the body releases a hormone called cortisol, which is designed to help manage the stress; however, cortisol that is present in the body for prolonged periods can prove to be toxic to the body. It can inhibit the function of the liver to regulate metabolic processes. Additionally, it can lead to other inflammatory reactions, such as hypertension and arterial diseases.
In addition to the negative health consequences of high and constant stress levels that are produced by a negative mental attitude, research reveals that individuals who tend to view life from a negative perspective tend to have greater difficulty managing adverse situations. Basically, having a positive outlook on life creates the ability to effectively engage the vicissitudes when they come.
Not only does having a positive mental attitude help to reduce stress levels, subsequently reducing cortisol levels, but it also promotes the creation of feel-good hormones, such as dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin. These hormones provide a sense of well-being that is essential to long-term good health.
Learning to Walk It Out
Developing a positive mindset requires the ability to encompass the entire gamut of life’s experiences in order to develop a lucid perspicacity of the process of life. When a person is able to survey their life with a panoramic view, they will be able to see that they have encountered multitudinous moments of adversity, but in almost every situation, they have overcome the adversity, and they have been better because of it. It is the development of the understanding of “process,” in and of itself that establishes the foundation on which a positive mindset can be developed. Everything that is achieved or acquired in life, is a part of a process.
I often teach my clients that their potential is a representation of the promise of their unique design; however, they must understand that in order to obtain the promise associated with their design and potential, they must first endure the process. There can be no obtainment of the promise, without there first being an endurance of the process. “Process” always precedes “promise.”
When people are able to see that the process does not destroy, but ushers in the promise, they are able to take on a positive mindset, even in the midst of difficult moments.
Not only does having a positive mental attitude support good health, but it is essential to developing the capacity to succeed in life. Success in life is not achieved by circumventing the struggles in life, but it is achieved by overcoming them.
Outcomes and Consequences
It is much easier to move through life when there is an understanding of the processes. When a person has an understanding of the processes of life they are not thrown off by the unexpected; they do not become frenetic and unglued when adversity strikes. They understand that life is a process and difficulty and adversity is simply the fertile soil in which the seeds of their faith and confidence are planted and cultivated. It is the understanding of the fact that every occurrence in life produces consequences, and though one may not be able to control many of the situations that occur in their life, they do have absolute and complete control over how they deal with them.
When a person realizes that it is not the situation in their life that dictates their future, but how they respond to that situation, they are able to develop a mindset of peace, because they have come to an understanding that they are the masters of their fate.
When people fail to develop this understanding and mindset, it leads to living life as a victim of circumstance — with all of life being a futile attempt at escaping moments of difficulty in search of comfort. Because comfort and peace are more of a state of mind than a situation or circumstance, these individuals never experience it at any significant level, even when there is no adversity present. They spend their quiet moments worrying about the next storm in their life.
Yes, a positive mental attitude has an immense impact on developing and sustaining good health, but it does so much more. It is the beginning of profiting in the game of life. Living life victoriously is about the ability to create peace in the midst of adversity, embracing the process in order to obtain the promise. ~ Dr. Rick Wallace, Ph.D.