Over the years as a memory speaker I have seen the advantages of a positive outlook. A positive person is a leader. They are better in school, better at making friends and socializing, better at their jobs, better able to remember things and life is just better all around for them. A positive attitude builds confidence, reduces stress, and allows a person to concentrate on what is important, and letting negativity not affect them.
A positive attitude has helped many patients overcome serious diseases. Some even claim that their attitude was the difference between life and death. Some studies show that may not be as far-fetched as it sounds.
I know I have heard, or read about, people who wanted to be left alone when they became ill, not wanting to bother their loved ones with their problems or illness. These people went into a depression, and that made the illness progress further. Everyone needs support when times are hard, and it’s amazing the number of people who, when they had to confront their friends and families with their disease had such positive support and encouragement they were able to turn their illness around.
The healing powers of love, humor and support are often able to accomplish what years of scientific research was not. Faith, hope and love are such powerful emotions that the human brain processes them as positive neurons and rewards the brain by sending off new connections.
Negativity sends negative impulses through the brain, and these negative impulses cause the neurons to weaken and die off. A study published in the medical journal, Neurology, indicates that subjects who were experiencing negative feelings about their health were more than likely to develop Alzheimer’s or dementia in later life, compared to those who rated their health as good.
The study consisted of 8,169 people over the age of 65. They were each asked to rate their health at the beginning of the study, and then were followed for a period of seven years. At the end of the study, 618 people developed dementia. Those who rated their overall health as poor at the beginning of the study had a 70% higher chance of developing dementia; those who rated their health as fair had a 34% higher chance. What was more surprising to the researchers was the relationship between their subject’s health ratings and dementia to be even stronger for those without any previous memory or cognitive issues.
What would make this happen? One reason could be that higher levels of social activities are associated with decreased dementia and an increase in the body’s ability to fight off limiting neurons in the brain. Those who believe they are too ill, or not “in the mood” for interaction increases their chances of speeding up the negative process.
Nature vs. Nurture goes hand-in-hand. Having great genes alone is worth little if intelligence is not nurtured in healthy and stimulating environments. Sometimes people assume that if they have “good genes” they do not have to work hard at learning because it comes naturally. Good genes cannot substitute for lack of social interaction, taking care of yourself, putting yourself into an atmosphere conducive to learning, etc.
By this thinking, hypochondriacs (people obsessed with illnesses) would be at the head of the class when it comes to passing out dementia and illness. They are “willing” themselves to be ill, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The perfect prescription to reverse this trend is to become ‘more social.’ It’s a low-cost way to fight against a life-depleting illness, and will definitely get you back into the swing of life.
“On a simple level, a person whose self-image has led to a destructive diet that has caused medical problems may improve the problem and the diet by changing the self-image–which is a way of thinking, an intention, a mental act,” says Gerald Grow, author of “Worldview of Mental Healing”. He likens positive thinking to the same type of healing processes that have worked for psychologists with their patients in therapy. Grow believes that, under the mantra of mental healing, visualization and self-affirmation a person is able to increase their chances for recovery.
About the author:
Ron White is a two-time U.S.A. Memory Champion and memory training expert. As a memory speaker he travels the world to speak before large groups or small company seminars, demonstrating his memory skills and teaching others how to improve their memory, and how important a good memory is in all phases of your life.
MemoryZine.com – Worried About Dementia, Stroke or Alzheimer’s disease? Forget About It! http://memoryzine.com
Nature vs Nurture: http://www.soc.ucsb.edu/faculty/baldwin/classes/soc142/n&n.html
Bryn Mawr — Mental Healing: Does Positive Thinking Act Upon Brain Neurons To Improve Health? http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/bb/neuro/neuro99/web3/Bibbo.html