People’s outlook on life and their attitude toward themselves have certain effects on their health. Medical records and the Mayo Clinic have reported that positive thinking can weigh greatly on health and can extend life.

“Having a positive attitude is associated with optimism,” PSUC psychology adjunct lecturer Kenna Laporte said. “Optimism is generally associated with a better outlook on things.”

Laporte pointed out the importance of having a positive attitude. She said researches generally show that positive thinking has an impact on many aspects of people’s lives in order to make them motivated. She also mentioned that a positive outlook gives people the ability to tell themselves they can succeed in what they do.

“It also affects our health and our mood,” she said. “There are so many things that positive thinking does for you.”

A Mayo Clinic study shows a positive outlook can add years to our lives, according to an article from the Huffington Post.

“There are some psychological and medical reasons for this,” Laporte said. “There are some interesting studies that look at how people who have more optimistic outlook are less likely to get a cold.”

A glass-half-full attitude can help strengthen the immune system, according to Live Science, a science news website run by Purch, an online media content group.

“In relation to their immune system, there are researchers saying that people who are more positive or more optimistic are more likely to fight off certain types of cancer,” she said. “If they have a cancer and have a more positive attitude, they are more likely to get better quicker.”

Laporte also emphasized how optimistic people tend to live longer and actually have a more positive lifestyle. She said positivity and our health have an indirect relationship with each other.

For example, when a person feels good, he or she starts to do more activities that benefit himself or herself such as exercising. In contrast, another example is when a person looks at everything negatively, he or she might not feel like doing anything. They might end up starting to live an unhealthy lifestyle.

Freshman public relation major Morayo Okesola said thinking positively and looking on the bright side can make a person feel better.

“When you are in that positive situation, you improve self-confidence,” she said. “Negative thinking just blocks your mind.”

When people start to think negatively, Okesola said they probably do not want to go anywhere or do anything. Someone might start to get into bad habits such as eating out of control or starving themselves, which is harmful to a person’s health.

Researchers have shown that negative emotions program people’s brain to do a specific action, according to an article in The Huffington Post.

“One thing I always tell myself is that everything happens for a reason,” she said. “I try not to make any regrets with everything I did.”

Okesola said she will always look on the bright side or just move on if something does not work out for her.

“Once things happen to you, it is out of your control,” sophomore management information systems major Hannah Assefa said. “You can pick the way you look at it.”

Assefa said negative thinking has a bad effect on our lifestyle. How people think affects how they feel. Therefore, if people feel happy, she said there are higher levels of serotonin in their bodies.

“One of the ways to practice positive thinking is to learn how to let go,” Assefa said. “We all should learn how to let go and accept things that happen to us.”

Laporte said people can improve positive thinking by catching themselves when they start to think negatively.

“We can change our brain to focus and catch ourselves when we are being negative and try to stop it,” she said. “We should train our brain to think in a positive and healthy way.”

Email Hilly Nguyen at cp@cardinalpointsonline.com

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