By Michael Jjingo
Are you promoting positive thinking? “Instead of worrying about what you cannot control, shift your energy to what you can create.” Roy T. Bennett. Many people go for the negative that lands them in stress and some depression. Some people believe that positive thinking is steeped in a denial of reality and believe it can negatively impact our wellbeing, for it does not allow us to handle the difficult emotions and feelings.
Positive thinking focuses really on potential solutions, new ways of thinking, innovations, and something to be hopeful for. Many times, it is very useful in dealing with the many challenges, uncertainties, and unique situations we encounter in life.
Our ability to look for the positive in everything is “cognitive reframing” and gets us to challenge and change over perspective of any scenario. Better to give it a go since several researches confirm that positive thinking can benefit our physical health and certainly the mental health.
Researches have also confirmed that many people who have a positive attitude are less likely to experience a decline in their memory as they age. The study had entailed monitoring adults at certain ages over a decade, each time recording their ascertained mood in the previous 30 days, together with their memory recall. The study confirmed the positive correlation with a lesser decline in memory.
In as much as our brains benefit from positive thinking, our cardiovascular systems also do. Another study confirmed that adults who are optimistic had, and many were more likely to have a better cardiovascular health, lower cholesterol and better blood sugar levels. It was also confirmed that a positive attitude could reduce the risk of developing a heart disease by 30%.
Imagine the stress response that we experience when we have negative, fearful or even the pessimistic emotions. We naturally release stress hormones like cortisol when we feel negative emotions, which chemicals raise our stress, blood pressure and heart rate, thus damaging the heart, if chronic.
It is worth noting that stress and low moods also have an impact on the functioning of our immune systems, especially if they are to act at optimum levels. Certain brain areas associated with negative emotions do weaken the immune response to simple ailments like flu, cough.
Positive thinking also increases our lifespan. We are not saying the people who lament too much, ever complaining and negative will not last long, but should check their lifestyle. Thinking positively about the old age and a constructive attitude to ageing have been proven to spur the chances of actually living longer.
It is high time we recognise that it is inevitable to age, to retire, to weaken; and it would be time wasting to be negative about it. Better to focus on the immense benefits of aging like more experience, the respect, wisdom, playing with grandchildren, plus being a source of wise counsel. We can also be appreciative of the longer life by remaining fit and healthy as we can.
Positive thinking and deliberately reframing our thoughts with a positive mindset not only leads to health benefits through us making better choices because we are feeling good, but also the right hormones to spur wellbeing are thus produced by the body.
Don’t let the expectations and opinions of other people affect your decisions. It’s your life, not theirs. Do what matters most to you; do what makes you feel alive and happy. Don’t let the expectations and ideas of others limit who you are. If you let others tell you who you are, you are living their reality, not yours. There is more to life than pleasing people. There is so much more to life than what you experience right now. You need to decide who you are for yourself. Become a whole being.
It is not late for the person who goes into negative thinking. Most of our thinking is resultant of habitual and repetitive processes. We could start by practicing cognitive reframing by understanding our thinking patterns, and noticing when the negative arise, and challenging them.
Even if you cannot change all the people around you, you can change the people you choose to be around. Life is too short to waste your time on people who don’t respect, appreciate, and value you. Spend your life with people who make you smile, laugh, and feel loved.
We could deliberately choose to swap negative thoughts with positive ones. Knowing this will be reason we need to practice positive thinking daily. It may be difficult at the onset, but it is a habit we should develop and hone, that will be very beneficial to us.
The writer is the General Manager Commercial Banking at Centenary Bank