Every time we experience stress due to unpleasant events or depression, when we learn about a disappointing diagnosis, someone from family or friends will remind – let’s think positively.
And, according to scientists, these are not just kind words, but a scientifically motivated approach.
Positive thoughts stop deadly diseases
A positive perception of the world can actually improve health and ultimately prolong life. About in the column “Personal Health” of The New York Times, writes a specialist in medicine and biology by Jane Brodie.
The author argues that when a person faces a health crisis, actively cultivating positive emotions can boost the immune system and counteract depression, and help reduce blood pressure, heart disease, improve weight control and increase blood sugar.
Brodie gives an example of a practicing physician in Dallas Wendy Schless Harfem, who 27 years ago was diagnosed with blood cancer. Over the next 15 years, the woman experienced 8 relapses of her illness and each time, in addition to treatment, tried to do simple things that did not let her fall into despair: she communicated with people with whom she was well and cheerfully, led a so-called “thank you book” , Did good deeds for others, watched films that create a good mood and raise the spirit.
For 12 years her illness remains in remission.
“Promoting positive emotions helped make my life better than it could be. They have simplified difficult times, even though they did not affect my cancer cells, “said Dr. Harfem
However, not all people get to think about good in difficult times. For them, scientists have developed special techniques. In particular, Professor of Medical Social Sciences at the Northwestern University of Feinberg Medical School in Chicago, Judith T. Moskowitz developed a set of eight skills that enhance positive emotions.
At the beginning of her studies, when Professor Moskovitz worked at the University of California at San Diego, she and her colleagues studied the influence of positive emotions on people who had recently learned that they had HIV. 159 patients taught the skills offered by scientists, and it turned out that those who actively participated them had less viral load, these people were more disciplined in taking medication, did not focus on the experiences associated with their diagnosis, and needed less antidepressants.
Eight skills that will make you happier
In particular, if you follow the methodology of Judith Moskowitz, then in order to become happier, you need to master at least some of the following skills:
– Determine what is good today;
– Enjoy this event and write it down in a magazine or tell someone about it;
– Create a “thank you diary ” and make regular entries in it;
– Determine the strong character trait of your character and write down how you used it;
– Set yourself a real goal and record successful steps to achieve it;
– Remember a small stressful situation and write down the steps to a positive reassessment of what happened;
– Every day do small good deeds in favor of others;
– Practice mindfulness, paying special attention here and now, and not the past or the future.
Think about the good – you live longer
Scientific research has shown that people with chronic diseases who practiced a positive perception of the world despite their diagnosis lived longer.
For example, as shown by the results of a study in which 49 patients with type II diabetes took part, positive emotion trainings led to the fact that patients began to practice a healthy diet, a physically active lifestyle and better control of blood sugar levels.
In another study by Professor Moskowitz, 39 women with late-stage breast cancer participated. Having received skills from positive emotions, participants less suffered from depression.
A larger study was conducted by Becca Levy and Avni Bavishi from the Yale School of Public Health. They worked with 4000 people, whose age began with 50 years. Scientists found that those who were positive about their aging, were more healthy and lived longer.
The study showed that people who thought positively, believed more in their own abilities, were more likely to experience stress and were more likely to adhere to healthy habits. Also, those who positively perceived their own aging were below the level of C-reactive protein, which is associated with heart disease – atherosclerosis and acute myocardial infarction.
In the end, people who did not perceive aging as something terrible, lived significantly longer.