Is Attitude a Missing Piece in the Good Health Puzzle?
By TLB Contributing Writer: Jeff Broth
In America today, there are countless different agencies telling us what we should and should not be doing in regard to our health.
For instance, to get and keep a healthy cardiovascular system, the American Heart Association suggests that we should be using all of the calories we take in, eating healthy foods from every food group while staying away from foods void in nutrition, and that we give up smoking once and for all.
While this is all likely good advice, research has found that there may be another piece to the puzzle of good health. That piece is attitude.
Attitude and Health: The Research
In March of 2018, Duke University Medical Center revealed the results of a study involving almost 2,400 people who suffered from chronic angina. Each was given a questionnaire to help reveal if the participant was optimistic or pessimistic about his or her future health.
Researchers found that the more optimistic the person was, the less angina he or she had. Optimism was also correlated with fewer incidences of heart attack, heart failure, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease.
Admittedly, a study like this cannot necessarily determine cause and effect—it cannot say that having a positive attitude actually leads to better health—this isn’t the only piece of research that has made this connection.
In her bestselling book Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself, Lissa Rankin, M.D. talks about how she noticed that many of her patients with healthy lifestyles didn’t have fewer health issues than patients who didn’t. In fact, it was just the opposite. The person’s attitude actually seemed to matter more.
Dr. Laura Kubzansky, a professor at Harvard Medical School agrees, indicating that “outlook—having a sense of optimism and purpose—seems to be predictive of health outcomes.” So, what are some things you can do to improve your attitude, therefore potentially improving your health?
Ways to Improve Your Attitude
Psychology Today suggests that it’s important to first notice when you are being negative. Next, look at the evidence of the situation to determine whether how you’re feeling is actually true or if it is just your perception of the situation at hand.
Another option is to focus on health instead of disease as T. Harv says that, “what you focus on expands.” Though T. Harv is likely talking about improving financial health since he is the bestselling author of Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, the same concept applies with health.
Case in point: have you ever been sick and lying on the couch feeling horrible, yet had someone call and, by the end of the conversation, noticed that you felt better? It isn’t likely that the bug just decided to leave your body when you weren’t looking, but more so that your focus wasn’t on how bad you felt, so you started to feel better.
Taking this one step further, what would happen if when you didn’t feel well, you started to focus on health instead? Is it possible to think yourself to better health?
Attitude May Determine Health
Based on scientific data, as well as what health professionals report seeing with their patients day in and day out, there is a high likelihood that attitude may just be the missing piece of the good health puzzle.
Not that medicine doesn’t have a time and place, but perhaps if we just change our mindset, we will need less of that medicine to begin with. No, we can’t always think our way out of sickness, but if there is even a chance that it can help, what’s the harm in trying?
About the Author: Jeff Broth is an independent researcher and writer who is constantly trying to fill in the gaps of what we know … and what we should know.
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