Post by Lucy James
When it gets right down to it the old statement that only the good die young is pure fantasy. As a matter of fact, people who are happier and more confident and positive about their lives tend to live longer; we just miss them more when they’re gone! More and more researchers are discovering that the better a person’s personal attitude is, the healthier they are and the longer they live. What is it about being happy and confident that helps you live longer?
At the root of all of it people who are unhappy or who have poor personal attitudes are stressed. They are worried more often and are generally more easily upset. All of this stress is taking a toll on their bodies often resulting in heart issues, mental fatigue and high blood pressure. Being more confident, finding a more positive attitude towards things and finding your own balance is a good way to make sure that you reduce your own stress while further preserving your health. Interestingly, many of the things that are meant to help you reduce stress will also help you think more positively about yourself. For example, exercise reduces stress and makes you stronger and more flexible, giving you a confidence boost.
People who have positive attitudes understand their own self-worth. They realize that they deserve good care and good treatment and as a consequence they treat themselves better than people with poor self-esteem. In addition they expect other people to treat them with respect and dignity. This is a very essential part of why a positive attitude can help you live longer. Though many people may dream of being taken care of it is important they realize the need to take care of themselves as well. A positive self-perception, so critical to our individual happiness, begins at home.
Being able to maintain a positive attitude allows you to keep trying even when things appear stacked against you. Medical professionals recognize how important a person’s willpower is. When a person is pessimistic about the future and their prospects, they are more apt to simply give up. When you engage in positive thinking, you are looking for solutions, finding your own strength and learning more from each experience. If you are convinced that things will never get any better, it can be very hard to do any of this.
A positive attitude is an essential part of living well and being healthy. If you are invested in enjoying both physical and mental health, thinking positively is an all-important first step.
Research performed by both the prestigious Mayo Clinic and the University of Texas suggests that people’s attitudes towards their own aging influences their health. In this instance, there truly seems to be a mind-body connection at play. Positive and negative emotions can directly affect the chemical and neurological balance within the body.
Our thoughts and emotions affect our physical functioning, including our physical performance level. Many of the world’s top athletes and sportsmen use visualisation techniques to increase performance.
Some years ago, American researchers performed tests on basketball players. One group practised shooting hoops for an hour per day, one group didn’t practise and the other spent the same amount of time as the first group visualising themselves performing successful shots. The astounding finding was that the group that visualised shooting successful shots improved nearly as much as the group that actually practised.
This can be related to aging and retirement in the way that the newly retired and elderly see themselves. Due to the stereotypes and stigma related to aging, some people start to associate these stereotypes to their own self-image. As they start to think more words associated with a aging such as fragility, feebleness, irritability, tiredness and forgetfulness, they physically and mentally begin to embody these characteristics.
Strereotype Embodiment theory explains how people belonging to certain groups begin to embody the stereotypes that themselves and others have about their particular group. This is all done subconsciously, meaning that people are unaware that their self-image is adjusting.
Lucy James is a full-time freelance writer representing MHA. MHA are a well-establish UK charity specialising in elderly housing and dementia care. We have care homes in Southampton, Stockport, Essex as well as the rest of the UK.