Staying Positive: Why It Makes a Difference
It seems so easy to talk negative: what doesn’t work about your job, your friends, your life. The truth is that turning things around in your head (which is sometimes easier said than done)—and seeing the glass as half full instead of half empty—is better for you and your health. Thinking positive regularly also changes the neurological connections in your head so it actually becomes easier to think positive more often.
The Mind-Body Link
When we’re positive, research shows that there are actually physical changes that occur in the body and in our cells that help us to stay healthier. The brain sends out a signal for the body to release hormones and chemicals to make us feel more calm: this slows down breathing and heart rate, reduces blood pressure, and helps muscles to relax.
Research shows that people who are more positive have:
- Lower rates of depression
- Greater resistance to illnesses
- Better psychological and physical well-being
- Better overall heart health and less risk of stroke
- A reduced risk of death from cancer
- An increased life span
How the Body Responds to Positivity
This is the mind-body link we’ve heard so much about. Everything in the body works hand in hand. When we think more positive and are more relaxed, the body sends out natural chemicals to slow everything down, calming us.
Our immune cells actually fire up when we are more positive. A lot of this has to do with stress. When we’re more positive, we’re less stressed overall. We know that stress diminishes immune cell response to infected cells and to cancer cells. In addition, what’s fascinating, when individuals are stressed, wounds heal more slowly and vaccinations are less effective.
I got a chance to speak to the benefits of positivity with Emmy Award-winning TV anchor Ernie Anastos on one of his many shows Positively America. Take a look.
To Stay More Positive Every Day:
- Smile more. Studies show that smiling reduces heart rate and blood pressure. Even when you least feel like smiling, smile! Fake smiling also gets the same results, so force yourself to smile if you need to.
- Surround yourself with positive people. Negative people (the people who are always complaining!) increase stress levels, which reduces positivity, and make you less confident.
- Say nice things to yourself. Be gentle and encouraging. A good rule of thumb: don’t say anything about yourself that you wouldn’t say to anyone else.
- Write down one or two things every day that you’re grateful for. Gratitude has been shown to actually re-wire the brain and the way we think. People who are more grateful not only have better moods, they’ve also have been shown to have fewer doctor visits.
- Turn off your phone and be more mindful of everything going on around you. When you’re more mindful, that is, more aware of everything around you, studies show that not only are you more positive overall, you are more grateful for the little things. The sound of the birds chirping outside your window, the leaves changing colors, flowers blooming, a morning cup of coffee, a hug from your kids…these may seem like an insignificant part of your day—in the grand scheme of things—but they have a big impact on feelings of positivity and on mental wellbeing.
The Role of Mindfulness
Mindfulness is so important to our daily life, why I co-wrote Mindful Beauty with Dr. Debbie Palmer, a board-certified dermatologist in Harrison, New York.
What I know: when you’re more mindful, that is more aware of everything happening in this moment, not worrying about what happened yesterday or what could or couldn’t happen down the road, you are happier, more hopeful, and yes, more positive overall.
To become more mindful, try shutting off your phone, turning off the TV, and just being aware. Pay attention to the sounds around you, what you see, what you taste, and what you feel in this moment. Tap into all the senses. I find that I can be most mindful in nature when I’m out walking as the outdoors is naturally calming.
To help people be more mindful in their daily lives, I also co-created these Mindful Beauty Cards with Dr. Palmer; our goal with these cards is to offer simple do-able one-minute daily mindfulness exercises and mantras that you can do anytime, anywhere. Both the Mindful Beauty book and these mindfulness cards are available from QVC.