*Please read my disclaimer page. I am not a doctor or licensed therapist and the following post is simply my opinion on why we should practice positivity.
Scientific research backs why being positive should matter to you.
It’s true. According to the Association for Talent Development, or TD.org, there are numerous psychological, mental, social and health benefits of being positive.
Positive People Have More Energy
Not only do positive people have more energy, their confidence in the outcome of life and faith in what’s to come are higher, as well. Because they believe all things will turn out for ultimate good, they often set better goals for themselves because they have a confident hope of achieving them.
Positive People Have More Normal Fight-or-Flight Reactions
Our body is super cool, but it can also be super faulty due to trauma. As wonderful as it is to have a mechanism in our brain that protects us from danger, trauma early in our lives can lead that mechanism to work against us, releasing the stress hormone cortisol far more often than necessary. In other words, we go into defense mode way more than we should, and unfortunately, the chemical reaction in our body can make us unhealthy over a prolonged period of time. Positive people have different responses to “danger” and thus do not release cortisol as often.
Positive People Have Better Connections to Others
Many of us suffered from childhoods spent in dysfunctional homes. As a result, we have shied away from the connections to others so desperately needed to enjoy life. The website share.upmc.com says,
The most powerful finding in the study is good relationships keep us happier and healthier. There is a direct correlation if you are more socially connected to family, to friends, to a community, you are happier, you’re physically healthier, and you live longer than someone who is less well connected.Mar 22, 2019upmc susquehanna
Clearly, this makes perfect sense. Everything on Earth is connected in some way; why shouldn’t humans be, too? When we become afraid of connection because of past hurt, it leads to loneliness, depression and anxiety. We fear the unknown, and having someone with whom we can flesh out fear will reduce our chances of engaging the fight-or-flight response mentioned above.
Positive People Are Healthier
Would you like to be healthier physically? Have lower blood pressure, better sleep, less stress, and possibly a longer life? Be positive! Studies show* there are many medical benefits to keeping a positive outlook on life.
The Mayo Clinic lists a few on their website:
- Increased life span
- Lower rates of depression
- Lower levels of distress
- Greater resistance to the common cold
- Better psychological and physical well-being
- Better cardiovascular health and reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
- Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress
Having been raised in a highly toxic environment, I unknowingly built up a strong resistance to positivity. I limped into adulthood believing that there was nothing good on the horizon and no reason to have a positive outlook. I didn’t realize that this belief system had been unintentionally passed down to me by my parents, who had unintentionally taken on the outlook from their own negative childhood trauma.
It wasn’t until I married my husband and lived with his positivity day in and day out that I changed my mind about the future. At first, I thought he was way too optimistic. I called him “Head in the Clouds Clayford.” I considered myself a realist (heads up: a realist and a pessimist are pretty much the same thing).
One day early on in marriage, a friend told Clay and me about a website where you could enter your age and health information and it would tell you when you were supposed to die. While Clayford and I were living identical lifestyles at the time, he clicked the positive outlook button, and I chose the negative. I was shocked to find that based almost entirely on that one trait alone, I would live thirty years less than my husband! (This was only my experience with the website. I’m not sure it’s the same for everyone.)
The shock of understanding how important a positive outlook was for my health weighed heavily on me. I started researching what I could do to become more positive. Here’s what I learned.
How to Become More Positive:
- Thoughts are like seeds. You plant them purposely or they fall into your brain like the wind was carrying them. The first you can control; the second you cannot. But you do have the power to choose which one to water. And like seeds, the thoughts you water are the thoughts that will grow.
- Birds of a feather flock together- so choose your company wisely. I can sometimes be a draining person; I think all highly sensitive people can be. It’s something that happens because we take on the feelings of others without meaning to. I used to hang out with like-minded people, until I saw how their negativity affected me. Now I make a point to surround myself with positive people, such as my husband. Their positivity has set a great example for me to follow.
- Choose to believe in a greater good, no matter how foolish that seems. If you choose not to believe in God, that’s not my business. If you choose to think religion is dumb, that’s not for me to judge. But what good does it do anyone for you to believe life itself is pointless? If you’re not going to believe in a Higher Power, at least believe that you have the power to do good and that doing good matters. If everyone felt that way, think about the change that would occur!
Remember, being positive and having toxic positivity are two completely different things. The latter suppresses true feeling, but the former chooses to push through that true feeling to get to what’s better on the other side.
Although at first you may feel as if you’re suppressing your true feelings, the more you choose to call out your negativity, identify the root cause of it, heal the past and push through, the more this practice will lead to true positivity and a change in all parts of your life.