Positivity is Key to a Happy & Healthy Life

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As we enter the holiday season, it’s natural to reflect on the passing year and to also look ahead. 

We had, to put it mildly, a difficult two years, wrestling with a world-wide pandemic with no finish line in sight. The only certainty is that healthcare organizations, including Hutchinson Regional Healthcare System, will not cease our 24/7 efforts until the last COVID-19 patient has recovered. 

Meanwhile, we have to look after our mental health, and that of the people around us. Understandably, depression is rising as a result of the pandemic, and people in general may be feeling less optimistic about the future. 

That makes this a good time to take stock of our feelings. Medical and mental health experts are nearly unanimous in the believe that a positive outlook on life has an uplifting effect on both our physical and mental well-being. 

Optimists, or those who see a glass as half-full instead of half-empty, are driven by their passions in life. They know what they want, and they work hard to pursue their goals knowing the joy that comes from achieving them. Optimists seem to enjoy the simple everyday joys that come their way. 

The Journal of the American Medical Association (AMA) reports that optimism is good for the heart. Dr. Richa Sood said “People with a positive outlook on life may not only have healthier hearts, but they may be happier and healthier in general.” 

Optimists cope better with stress and take more direct action in the face of adversity. When something bad happens, their positive habits of thinking kick in, and they seek the good in the situation.

Most doctors say optimism even helps a person’s immune system to fight off disease. On the other hand, a pessimistic attitude may result in a sluggish immune system. 

Several respected health organizations have studied how we might be more optimistic as we maneuver our way through these difficult days. The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) published a list of six recommendations for creating a more optimistic lifestyle:

—Identify areas to change

—Be open to humor

—Follow a healthy lifestyle with exercise and healthy foods

—Surround yourself with positive people 

—Practice positive self-talk 

The website verywellmind.com conducted a study on the health benefits of being optimistic: 

—Increased lifespan 

—Lower rate of depression

—Lower levels of distress

—Greater resistance to the common cold

—Better psychological and physical well being 

—Better cardiovascular health and reduced risk of death from heart disease 

Also, the Mayo Clinic recently penned a list of eight tips on how to remain optimistic during COVID-19:

—Know you are not alone

—Focus on successes 

—Challenge your negative thoughts 

—Cultivate an attitude of gratitude

—Stay present in the moment

—Let it go

By: Ken Johnson, President & CEO of Hutchinson Regional Healthcare System

 

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