Written by Rachel Fulton of SIA Group
I love my brother to the moon and back. He is smart, talented and has a smile that melts my sisterly heart. But we are very different people. We were both raised in the same household environment; our mother didn’t smoke, drink or take any other kind of baby-damaging products during either pregnancy. Yet he suffers from allergies, fights off the flu at least once every couple of years and also comes down with other various “bugs” from time to time that lay him out for about three days. I, on the other hand, have never suffered from allergies and can’t recall the last time I ever had to visit the doctor for an illness.
Now you may think it’s cruel to rub my good fortune in his face, but it’s not just luck that keeps me in such a state of well-being. I believe it’s my positive attitude toward life. I’m a “glass half full” kind of gal and he’s more of a “glass half empty” kind of guy. He believes he is a realist, not a pessimist. But I think anything less than optimism is a waste of time, and science just so happens to agree with me.
Several studies have shown a positive correlation between subjective well-being and physical health. Dr. Clive Wood from the Department of Human Sciences at the University of Oxford reviewed several studies on this matter with thousands of participants. The conductors of the studies stated that the results were overwhelmingly in favor of this correlation. People who tested highest in self-efficacy tests were also those who reported the highest overall well-being. In general terms, people with a more positive outlook on life tend to be healthier overall and people with a negative disposition tend to be less healthy.
If you feel as though you could improve upon your attitude towards life but aren’t sure how to get started, I encourage you to find ways to make small changes. Try keeping a small notebook with you and when you feel the need to let out a complaint, write it down followed by two or three positive remarks on the topic. Example:
Negative: My boss gave me a last minute, top priority project and I have so much else on my plate!
Positive: I am the go-to person for my boss in emergency situations. That makes me important and a necessary part of the team.
Positive: In an economy like today’s, I’m grateful to have a job. Especially one that allows me to shine under pressure!
By training your mind to focus on the positive aspects of life, you will notice the negative slowly drift away. A positive attitude is a tremendous tool in this ho-hum world we live in. And why not spend what precious little time we have in the best state of health and happiness possible?