For every positive thought you have in a day, I bet you have three negative ones.
This doesn’t make you a pessimistic person as such, it’s generally just the way us humans are designed, a fight or flight kind of reaction, dating right back to the days when we were living in caves and trying to survive against all kinds of worrying things.
Despite this, there has been research showing a very strong link between positive thinking and good health, so maybe it’s time you turned those negative thoughts into happy, smiley, positive ones?
At the root of all of this is the famous ‘what if’. This is a thought that has bothered men and women for years; it’s the fear of the unknown, the ‘what if the very worst happens’, but really, is this helpful? Not at all. Negativity breeds fear, fear turns into feeling like the worst is actually happening, and then all manner of very unhelpful health issues rear their heads – namely stress.
You’ve probably heard that positivity breeds positivity, i.e. if you think positive things are going to happen then they will, and if you think negative things are going to happen then they probably will too. Whilst there is no solid evidence to back this up, it does make sense. Think about it – if you want something to happen, you think it can, then you’re going to go all out to make it happen, making decisions and taking opportunities to increase the chances; if you think it’s not going to happen then you don’t even bother trying, so it won’t. Simple really.
You might think this is all mumbo-jumbo, but thinking happy thoughts has a big effect on your general health and wellbeing. Scientists have identified that chemical reactions between the brain and the rest of the body are linked to emotions, and these chemical reactions are important for healthy bodily function. The hormonal and immune systems are linked and use the same processes to communicate with one another. If you’re feeling low and thinking negative thoughts, then your emotions are on a low too, creative a vicious cycle.
We mentioned the word ‘stress’ before, and this is probably the most important thing to talk about. Negative thinking creates stress, because we then get into the ‘why does nothing ever go right for me’ train of thought, ‘this will go wrong’, ‘that will go wrong’, ‘it’ll never turn out right’, basically you’re thinking the worst. In the end, you end up stressed out of your mind and as a result your heath suffers, due to high blood pressure, depression, spikes in adrenaline due to that fight or flight process we were talking about, and increase in cortisol production, which is never a good thing.
So, how can you avoid all of this?
It’s the easiest thing in the world to say stop thinking negative and turn it to positive, but this takes time. You need to learn to be mindful of every negative thought you have, and then replace that with a positive. It will be a laborious task at first, but one that will reap major rewards, not only for your mood and happiness, but also your overall health and well-being too.