Think positive – live longer

Positive thinking could extend your lifespan. Just believing you are healthy cuts your risk of early death by 71%.

More brilliant research from Stanford University!

 

After providing us with a ‘snapshot’ of how hypnosis affects the brain, (see: https://www.newtonhypnosis.com/how-hypnosis-affects-the-brain/) researchers at Stanford University tracked medical data on more than 60,000 Americans and found that those who saw themselves as less active were 71% more likely to die years later.

A lot of people openly admit that they are not be the healthiest person on the planet, but this mind-set could be dangerous for our health and wellbeing. In fact, according to the Stanford researchers, people who view themselves as less healthy than others are at risk of suffering a premature death – no matter how active they actually are.

Their research and results were published in Health Psychology – the latest of many studies to show how our thoughts, feelings and beliefs have a direct impact on our health.

In 1980, the team collected and documented information about participant’s health, background, and levels of physical activity. All the participants were asked whether they considered themselves to be physically more active, less active, or about as active as other people of the same age.

The researchers then collated death records from 2011 – 21 years after the initial survey. After controlling for physical activity, age, body mass index, chronic illnesses and other factors, they discovered that people who saw themselves as less active than others were up to 71% more likely to die in the follow-up period than people who thought they were more active than their peers.

It seems that the health benefits people get out of everyday activities depends in part on their mind-set – in other words, getting actual healthy benefits from exercise depends whether or not they believe they are getting health benefits from exercise. Those who deemed themselves unfit were more likely to remain inactive, fuelling feelings of fear, stress or depression that negatively affected their health.

The researchers also cited the well-understood influence of the placebo effect, where patients who think they’re getting treatment experience physiological changes even though they’re not actually getting any treatment. People who believe they’re getting healthy exercise often do get more physiological benefits from their exercise than those who believe they aren’t getting enough healthy exercise.

As the placebo effect is well established in medicine, it is only logical to assume that it also plays a role in shaping the benefits of healthy exercise.

A lot of effort, notably in public health campaigns, is geared toward motivating people to change their behaviour – eat healthier, exercise more and reduce stress. An increasing volume of research shows that both positive and negative perceptions of healthy living really do affect one’s health and longevity.

Even with everyday experiences, even simple thoughts and beliefs have very palpable physiological effects. This is the core element of Suggestion. For instance, a simple thought or idea can have immediate physical effects when it comes to sexual arousal. These kind of reactions are experienced regularly. We don’t realise just how much our thoughts, our mind-set and our expectations affect our everyday physiology.

In the case of stress – which is so closely linked to our emotions – a single negative thought that something is wrong can make us sweat or increase our heart rate. These are typical reactions of people who suffer from fears and phobias. Both positive and negative thoughts, feelings and emotions will have a physical constituent and be expressed in physiological reactions. For instance, someone who suffers from arachnophobia will always experience the same physical reaction every time they see a spider.

By the same token, a doctor who tells a patient they can expect to make a full recovery is helping that patient far more than saying there will be a long and hard road to recovery.

Being mindful of, and feeling good about activities you do every day – like using the stairs, walking, cycling to work, or doing everyday chores could be an easy first step for everyone to improve their health. Just as important, believing these things will make us healthier is the next…

 

Copyright Andrew Newton 2017. All rights reserved.