In his book, The Healing Journey, author Matthew Manning says mental stress can bring about real physiological changes in our bodies. Nerves release adrenaline and noradrenaline chemicals, which make the heart beat faster and raise blood pressure. The levels of the hormones, cortisol and adrenaline rise and they start to adversely affect our lymphoid cells and suppress the immune function, bringing increased susceptibility to disease.
A huge amount of research into positive thinking is developing in the field of cancer survival. A study published in the medical journal, The Lancet, shows that anxious and depressed women with breast cancer die before those who remain more positive. The study demonstrates a clear link between psychological state and your ability to deal with disease. The same research suggests that the worst coping style in any of life’s situations is feeling helpless and anxious.
There is no doubt that thinking positively and being happy reduces the impact of disease. Positivity is not just a blocker of disease; it actually strengthens the immune system. The latest theory is that the brain can reverse disease via a group of neurotransmitters called neuropeptides. These are triggered by the physiological equivalent of feelings and thoughts, and can lock onto cells all over the body.
Professor Martin Seligman, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania in the US, has studied optimism and pessimism for decades and found that pessimists have worse physical health. He believes optimism not only prevents disease, but is also crucial in the healing process. Another US research reveals that people who consider themselves to be highly optimistic live, on average, seven and a half years longer than pessimists.
The theory is simple, think positive and your body and mind will benefit. This is why I choose to be an optimist. Optimism can be more powerful than many drugs. When you are optimistic, you don’t feel helpless as you engage the positive gear and start tackling the problem at hand. You don’t remain frozen like those who panic do when they get a dose of bad news.
It is important to harness positive power. Research done at the University of California shows that if you deliberately contort your facial muscles into expression of fear, anger or happiness you would soon start to feel those emotions. Research now confirms that thinking happy and positively could have an even more measurable effect. Other research has shown that happy events leave your immune system boosted for up to three days afterwards. Optimists bounce back from defeat by learning from past setbacks and using the experience to move forward. If optimism were a drug, doctors would be prescribing it across board. I want to prescribe it to you today. You will see the difference it will make in your life.