Optimism is more than just hoping good things happen. It’s knowing that they will. And the research shows that keeping positive is great for your health and can affect every avenue of your life for the better. This may seem fluffy and unpractical, but we will cover how to be positive in a moment.
First, let’s take a look at why…
Negativity’s Effect on the Body
A negative mindset and all that comes with it – like anger, pessimism, and stress – has been shown to contribute to an array of health problems.
Long-term negative emotions prompt reactions in the body such as the release of stress hormones, unnecessary immune responses, added stress, and inflammation. These ailments may result in symptoms like:
- Sore body
- Sleep issues
- Chronic fatigue
- Chronic stress
- Chronic inflammation
Because of the nature of these symptoms, the stress they cause can develop into much more serious issues such as:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Eating disorders
- Poor libido
- Skin and hair issues
- Gastrointestinal problems
As you can see, the effects of a negative attitude can snowball, and dramatically so. [1-2]
Such is also the case with the effects of a positive attitude. The more positive your outlook on life, the happier you are – and the happier you are, the healthier you are.
Positivity’s Effect on the Body
The idea that your perception can physically affect your body is fascinating, but not fanciful. Science has taken a look at this notion and has found that optimists are much healthier and happier than pessimists.
Within a study called The Nun Study, researchers rated journal entries from young nuns (between the ages of 18-32) on a positivity scale. They evaluated the surviving nuns 60 years later for a follow up. All of the nuns who had lived the longest had a high score on the positivity scale – having written positively in their journals 30 years earlier, regardless of their circumstances. 
Your immune system is always at the ready, prepared to help you with any potential threat. But if traffic is moving a bit slow, and you get mad, your body doesn’t know the difference between that and a real threat. So, it sends a rush of adrenaline to boost the immune system and deal with the situation at hand. This happening once – especially when needed – is not a big deal. In fact, it’s healthy and serves a great instrumental purpose. However, constant outbursts of this kind runs the immune system down, causing a range of problems.
A meta-analysis of over 300 individual studies over the last 30 years looked at the immune system’s response to short-term and long-term stressors. The aforementioned result is what they found – constant surges of stress or anger led to a weakened immune system, resulting in illness. 
Another study from 2017 followed 70,000 women over an 8-year period. This is how the researchers summarized their findings:
“We found strong and statistically significant associations of increasing levels of optimism with decreasing risks of mortality, including mortality due [sic] each major cause of death, such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease, and infection.”
Along with avoiding all of the poor side-effects of a negative mindset, someone with a positive mindset is more likely to practice a healthy lifestyle and avoid unhealthy vices like smoking or excessive drinking.
If you’re thinking, hey, sometimes bad things happen and that’s just life… you’re correct. But there’s more to it…
Let’s delve deeper into what positivity is and what it means to be positive.
Being Positive 101
In the 90’s hit sitcom Seinfeld, Frank Costanza would yell “serenity now” when faced with a stressful situation. The idea was that it was supposed to calm him down. Or, like the character Kramer said in one episode: “melt the stress right off of the body.” But, if you watched the episode, you’d know that it doesn’t work like that.
The awareness of positivity and the practice of positivity are two different things. A positive mindset helps you cope when things don’t go well. But just repeating “stay positive” or “serenity now” won’t do anything. You also can’t reject every negative thought or situation. It’s how you deal with these unfavorable scenarios that matter.
Here are some tips to help you practice positivity:
Start each day on a positive note:
We tend to think that if something bad happens at the beginning of the day, then that sets a precedent for the rest of the day. However, it’s likely only because after the initial unfortunate event, you started looking for other bad things. Your brain wants to be right, so it affirms its bad-day theory through a cognitive bias.
But the same can be true for the opposite. Start your day off with something positive – whatever that means for you – and spend the rest of your day acknowledging the good.
Find your weak areas:
What are you most negative about? Waiting in lines? A messy area? Driving?
Whatever it may be, find what bothers you, then do one of two things…
Find a way to fix or eliminate the problem. This could mean learning to do the front garden so seeing it in disarray every day doesn’t bum you out, or confronting your annoying neighbor about boundaries.
But some things you just can’t fix so easily. In such a case, you need to do the work internally. If there’s no way around getting stuck in traffic on your commute, you need to change how you look at traffic. The traffic isn’t going to change, so you have to. Try listening to a podcast or your favorite music to try and turn that time in the car into something enjoyable.
Focus on the good things:
As mentioned before, generally when you’re looking for things, you can find them. Certainly you are surrounded by at least a few things that make you happy. Seek them out and focus on them.
When you find those good things, remember to be grateful for them. And take a look around at your life – maybe make a list – of all of the things you are grateful for. We’re all guilty of taking things for granted sometimes, so occasionally taking a step back really helps. The roof over your head, the shoes on your feet, the people in your life, the fact that a burrito place just opened around the corner. There’s a lot to be grateful for.
Opening yourself up to humor can have a great impact. It has been shown to reduce anxiety, stress, as well as improve your immune system, mood, and sleep quality. [6-7]
Spend time with positive people:
Sadly, sometimes people will try to keep you down with them. Misery loves company. And negativity is contagious, so negative people will have an affect on you. But so will positive people. They’ll help you see the bright side and lift you up so that you can be the best version of yourself.
Health and Positivity
Health and positivity come full circle. If you’re positive, you’re more likely to be healthy. And vice versa. But if you’re unhealthy, or are struggling with your health, it may be difficult to stay positive.
If you’re striving to look on the bright side, improving your health is a great way to start.
If you’re deficient in vitamin B12, you may not even know it, and it could be affecting how you feel.
B12 can help support healthy cognitive function and energy levels. If you feel sluggish in the afternoons, light-headed, suffer from brain fog or fatigue – you may need a boost!
Purality Health’s Micelle Liposomal B12 can help. Designed to be absorbed, it could be just what you need to get back on track!
References and Resources
- Benefits of Thinking Positively and How to do it
- The Consequences of Long-Term Stress
- The Nun Study
- Psychological Stress and the Human Immune System: A Meta-Analytic Study of 30 Years of Inquiry
- Optimism and Cause-Specific Mortality: A Prospective Cohort Study
- Mayo Clinic – Stress relief from laughter? It’s no joke
- The effect of laughter yoga exercises on anxiety and sleep quality in patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease