The science of positive thinking: A video from New Scientist
In an interesting article published online in the New Scientist, writer Jo Marchant explores the evidence for looking at how our mental and emotional activity affects our physical health. While in Chinese medicine the mind body connection has been long established for thousands of years, it’s only relatively recently that western biomedicine has begun to escape the shackles of Descartes’ mistaken assertion that the two are separate, non interacting entities. Modern disciplines such as psychoneuroimmunology are showing us how our emotional life has distinct physiological correlates that impact not only the quality of our lives, but also their length.
In this brief video, and as the associated article illustrates, evidence shows that optimism and positivity reduces circulating levels of stress hormones like cortisol, and that optimists not only recover better from medical procedures such as coronary bypass surgery but also live longer when suffering from conditions such as cancer, heart disease and kidney failure. In general they are noted to have significantly healthier immune systems.
You’ll also find some interesting facts that people who see themselves in a positive light have lower cardiovascular responses to stress and recover faster as well as having lower baseline cortisol levels. There are also references to some fascinating research that showed that students suffering from exam anxiety showed lower levels of adrenaline in their urine on exam day when they were given creative writing tasks before hand that focussed on their own positive qualities…All fascinating stuff, so read, watch, and perhaps consider for yourself what one thing could you do, that would positively impact how you view yourself and your life. Your organs will thank you for it.