The Importance Of Positive Attitude To Mental And General Health And Fitness
“Mental health is often missing from health debates even though it is critical to well-being.” This quote by Diane Abbott passes an important message rather matter-of-factly. A proper mental state, which often starts with a positive attitude, has everything to do with maintaining good general health and fitness. According to the World Health Organization, proper mental health is much more than just the absence of sickness, and it has an intimate connection with physical health and healthy life in general. In the most basic terms, a proper mental state involves complete social, physical and mental well-being and not just an absence of any infirmity or disease.
This article has discussed how a positive attitude and clear mindset can contribute to a proper mind state. These are necessary to achieving general good health and fitness and enable a person to cope with life stresses and boost productivity.
The relation of a positive attitude to mental health.
The way you view life and deal with its ups and downs determines your general well-being. Some author once said that “life is not happening to you. Life is responding to you.” So having a positive outlook on life will lead you into making healthy life choices, and in turn, life will respond to you more positively resulting in a healthier happy life.
Having a positive attitude does not mean that you should not have time to think about your sadness and problems. It also doesn’t mean that you should never feel any negative emotions like anger. According to Anthony Grant, a coaching psychologist Associate Professor, during difficulties, you should allow yourself to grieve as that is often part of the natural healing process. Ultimately, the healing will result in a more relaxed mental state.
Dr. Richard J. Davidson, a neuroscientist at the University of Wisconsin, used brain imaging and found out that positive attitude can trigger pathways found deep within the human brain, including the ventral striatum area. So individuals with a positive mental outlook will often have longer activation in the ventral striatum, and this results in a feeling of well-being. A continued activation of this particular part of the brain has also been linked to lower stress hormones in the body.
Can a positive attitude and mindset lead to good health?
Buddha told us “to enjoy good health, to bring true happiness one must discipline and control their mind.” A positive attitude often leads to good health.
According to Dr. Peter Norvid, a geriatric specialist at the Adventist Hinsdale Hospital, people with a positive mindset tend to live longer and have closer personal relationships. They are also able to deal with life stresses promoting a healthy life easily.
Studies from the Harvard School of Public Health shows that positive people have a lower risk of heart diseases. Similar research from the University of Pittsburg, indicate that optimistic women are less predisposed to such conditions as thickening of carotid artery walls. Again, in the year 2000, Toshihiko Maruta, M.D, of the Mayo Clinic published a research report which indicated a pessimistic view of life as one of the risk factors for early death.
Essentially, people who have positive attitude and mindset are most likely to engage in fitness and healthy behaviors like making good food choices, doing regular physical activities and having enough sleep. In turn, these practices improve their general health. Besides, individuals with a positive attitude towards life are less likely to engage in such habits as smoking and doing drugs. Research has also linked psychological well-being to measurable biological factors including, among others, healthier lipid profiles and lower blood pressure.
A study from Harvard School of Public Health published in The American Journal Of Cardiology suggested that middle-aged individuals with a positive mental outlook of life have higher levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (also called the “good cholesterol’). They also tend to have reduced levels of triglycerides. These suggestions are clear evidence that a good mental state can lead a person to a healthier life.
A positive mindset and mental outlook can impact positively on the strength of an individual’s immune system. After tracking first-year law students through their life experiences (that of course involved several ups and downs), researchers found out that, based on how positively the students thought about things, they had varying levels of immune responses. Those that displayed positive mental outlook were found to have higher cell-mediated immunity. A negative, gloomy outlook that came about by, for instance, bad test scores had adverse effects on the immune cells response. So again, you notice that good mental health will lead to a healthier life by boosting your immune responses.
Scientists have also reported that positive people live relatively longer than individuals with a negative outlook on life. In a study carried out in a hospital in Denmark involving 607 patients, it was realized that individuals with an overall positive mental outlook had 58 percent better chance of living at least another five years. Again, the research reported that these individuals had habits of exercising more regularly. Here again, you realize that good mental state can result in healthy behaviors like engaging in physical activities.
Benjamin Franklin said, “Do not anticipate trouble or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.” A positive mindset will always have a positive impact in your life, including good general health.
Here are some daily activities that can help you develop a positive mental outlook and mindset.
While focusing on healthy behavior like good food choices, other activities can help you achieve a proper mental state. They include, among others;
You can take yoga classes
Besides helping you to build flexibility, strength, endurance and also aid in weight loss, yoga can help you change your outlook and improve your mental health in different ways;
• It has been known to reduce anxiety, stress, and depression. The deep breathing involved in yoga helps to reduce the stress hormone cortisol. Again, during yoga, endorphins are released, and they are necessary for stress management and boosting your moods.
• Yoga has been known to help individuals to achieve emotional balance.
• It helps relax your mind and body. Through the stretching involved in yoga, your body is relaxed, and this is essential to mental health.
• Yoga has also been known to improve concentration and boost your memory.
Do activities that help reduce the daily stress
• Get up early in the morning and have some quiet time alone, as you have a cup of coffee.
• Instead of having a quick shower, you can choose to have a long aromatherapy soak.
• At least every week, devote some time to your hobby or try any other new thing that you have always loved.
• Try new recipes
Listen to music
Your favorite music can be a great positivity booster.
Laugh a lot
Laughing can benefit your mental health in some ways;
• It improves your mood
• Lowers blood pressure
• Alleviates stress
• Boosts brain healt
Have time for friends and family
Don’t take them granted as this can push them away. Friends and relatives should share your life’s sorrows and joys. Having time for them also gives you a sense of belonging.
Always strive to have meaningful budgets
Avoid over-spending on the wants instead of the needs. Often, financial problems cause stress.
Have a good night’s sleep
Besides improving your productivity, good sleep helps you wake up with a more positive outlook on the next day.
Clearly, as far as good health and fitness are concerned, mental health is necessary, and this begins with having a positive attitude.
There is a quote that says “believing in negative thoughts is the single greatest obstruction to success.” So take the initiative and choose to lead a successful, healthy life.