How Your Psychology Can Affect Your Health
In recent years, there has been a growing interest in positive psychology and its benefits. The fact that your state of mind can have a dramatic effect on your health sounds like an overstated claim, but numerous scientific studies give this view credibility.
How Can Positivity Improve Your Health?
There are two important ways in which your psychological state can affect your health. Firstly, having a positive frame of mind is strongly linked with engaging in healthier behaviors. Scientists have found an undeniable correlation between optimism and lifestyle choices such as diet and exercise.
It is believed that people who are more fatalistic or believe that their fate lies outside their control are less inclined to live a healthy lifestyle, because they are conditioned to think that nothing which they do will have a positive impact on their life. On the other hand, people who are optimistic are happier to take control of their eating and exercise habits because they expect a positive outcome from their choices.
However, what is intriguing about this premise is the fact that optimism does not have to be innate for it to have this type of benefit. People with depressive illness or a natural inclination towards pessimism can learn the same thought processes and attitudes which optimists use, and will show the same improvement in lifestyle choices as a result.
Perhaps it is not surprising that happier people are more likely to look after the health. But what surprises many people is the fact that a positive psychological attitude genuinely can affect the immune and neuroendrocrine system. This means that optimism really can reduce your chances of developing serious illness, along with improving your chances of recovery if you do become unwell.
One landmark study examined the link between optimism and the risk of developing coronary heart disease. Almost 100,000 participants, who were disease free at the start of the study, were tested to see if they had a natural tendency towards optimism or pessimism. They were then monitored over several years to see if there was any correlation between outlook and disease.
The results showed a clear link. When the participants who scored in the top 20 percent for optimism were compared against the 20 percent highest scorers for pessimism, it was found that the latter were 50 percent more likely to develop heart disease. The pessimists in the group were also significantly more likely to die from other illnesses or disease during the study period. For more information visit us: psychologist
Other studies have focused on optimistic traits and recovery from surgery and serious disease. These also highlighted the fact that those with dispositional optimism were more likely to recover quickly, and reported lower levels of pain and discomfort.
It cannot be said conclusively that your psychology impacts your health, as those with the healthiest genes may also be more likely to hold a trait for optimism. However, the results are very encouraging and many scientists do believe that it has a strong bearing. Since it will certainly not do any harm, it seems prudent to err on the side of caution and work on cultivating a more optimistic attitude to life.