Mind Over Matter? – How a Positive Attitude Can Protect You from Depression and Illness

Having a positive attitude, or being as optimistic as possible, is something that many self-help gurus like Tony Robbins and Stephen R. Covey (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) have been talking about for decades. People have varying opinions on the efficacy of a “positive attitude”. Some people even go so far as to say that it’s all a bunch of new-agey hocus-pocus! But it would seem that Covey and Robbins, among many others are right. And you don’t have to look in a mirror every morning and repeat “I am GREAT!”—well, unless you want too!

It’s now official—it has been scientifically proven that having a positive attitude can affect your wellbeing in amazing ways! In a recent article featured in US News Magazine, researchers in Australia have discovered that teenagers who maintain an optimistic attitude have a significantly lower risk for depression. The journalist reporting on the findings explained that:

“What makes optimism work? An optimist believes the good things that happen in life will keep happening, and that they happen because she or he made them happen. Optimists also figure that bad things happen occasionally, and by chance, not because of one’s own mistakes; and they believe those bad things are unlikely to happen again.”

So you may be thinking that some people are just born on the bright side—that they naturally are happier people who just seem to be genetically wired to see things in a more optimistic light. But that is only half true—yes, some people are born with certain “happier” dispositions. But also it has scientifically been found that cultivating an optimistic attitude towards life can be a skill that can be learned by just about anybody. Psychologist Martin Seligman from the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania, among others, has done numerous studies on the the subject and has found that learning to be optimistic is very possible, even for the most pessimistic person.

Having an Optimistic Attitude not only significantly decreases your chances of getting depressed, but it also has so many other benefits—people who are Optimistic have better marriages and romantic relationships, have more meaningful friendships, are more successful in their careers and also live longer and suffer from less health problems! It has been proven by numerous scientific studies.

This is because having a negative attitude creates more stress than having a positive attitude. A prolonged period of stress causes all kinds of problems, according to the Mayo Clinic, including “health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. So having an optimistic attitude can do so much for you!

So how can you “learn” how to be more optimistic? Well Yoga and Meditation are great practices to start! The benefits of Yoga and Meditation are also scientifically proven, and they can reduce your stress levels and increase feelings of wellbeing that can help you achieve a more optimistic attitude! Also, when a bad situation happens, make sure you question your assumptions about it being “negative” or “bad”. Try to see the situation in a different light. Remember the old saying that if you have been given lemons, make lemonade! Pretty much any situation can be turned around and made positive. You just have to first start by thinking to yourself, “This can be turned around. This can be made okay.” Every problem has a solution, but you have to be in the right frame of mind to figure it out. If you are in a negative mindset, then it will be so much harder to see the solutions to whatever problems life throws at you! So cultivating a positive attitude can do so much to help you not just in terms of your health but also in all areas of your life! So try and see things from a more optimistic perspective! The results will amaze you!