Tagged with: disability health life research study
Out of all the parts of the human body, the brain is undeniably the most mysterious and complex. Recently, more and more studies have emerged revealing the vast power the brain has to influence the body with even the simplest concepts. In fact, current research has shown how positive thinking in itself can have a significant effect in healing and longevity. Especially for sufferers of traumatic brain injuries, positive thinking is key, along with the help of therapeutic resources. These could include informative articles and support groups, such as the ones found through TryMunity, a resourceful virtual network of compassionate individuals who have all been affected by traumatic brain injury in one way or another.
But why exactly is positive thinking so powerful? Many put it off as just another “New Age” fad, but the fact is that there is a stockpile of evidence proving its effectiveness. Multiple research studies have shown optimists to have lower risk of cardiovascular disease, decreased stress and depression, stronger immune systems, faster recovery rates following injury or surgery, and even increased longevity.
For instance, a researcher at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center analyzed eight years of data on over 97 thousand women aged to compare the relationship between their attitude and rates of disease. The results revealed that women who were “most cheery were 30 percent less likely to die of heart disease” and “14 percent less likely to die from all causes”; in other words, positive outlooks are correlated with a healthier life and lifespan. Explanations for this phenomenon have mainly to do with the implications of positive thinking: Optimists tend to care more about their health through exercising and avoiding damaging habits like smoking or drinking. Studies show that they are also more likely to seek and follow medical advice, whether in maintaining a diet program or taking medication. Furthermore, people who are cheerful tend to have better social networks and support, which reduce the possibility of chronic stress, a known health detriment. Chronic stress induces hormonal imbalance, particularly of adrenaline and cortisol, which not only alters the body’s physiology and immune system response, but facilitates the onset of depression, anxiety, insomnia, weight gain, and cardiovascular disease.
Equally significant is the role of positive thinking in recovery. A review published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal on 16 studies showed that patients who believed they would recover well after surgery experienced less pain and faster recovery. Those who were anxious or pessimistic took longer or did not recover as well. The same concept holds true with professional athletes: Many return so quickly to their sport after an injury because they focus on the mentality that they will play again, rather than on the injury and its repercussions.
Amazingly, positive thinking is also linked to longer lifespan. Research from the Yale School of Public Health has found that people who with a positive attitude towards aging and the elderly are 44 percent more likely to recover after disabilities and live on average 7.6 years longer than those with negative feelings. Separate studies abroad have supported the same concept: Research in Georgia, Japan, and Sweden have shown that centenarians – people who live to 100 years old – generally are more extraverted, conscientious, relaxed, trustful, and less neurotic than the general population – typical characteristics of an optimistic personality.
Positive thinking is a force that cannot be ignored. It not only carries benefits of a healthier psychology, but of a healthier body and brain. Whether with regards to stress, heart disease, brain injury, or aging, optimism is a universal treatment. If you seek more information regarding the power of the brain or options for treatment, prevention, or support for a traumatic brain injury, don’t hesitate to sign up at TryMunity today.