For some of us, recent research from the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research will be no surprise. Researchers there have found that people who have a generally positive mental attitude and outlook on life are more likely to live a healthier lifestyle. If you’re happy, you’re healthy, say their findings.
The Power of a Positive Mental Attitude
The research was published in the Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series (pdf) and examined the outlooks and lifestyles of more than 7,000 people in Australia.
“Our research shows a direct link between the type of personality a person has and a healthy lifestyle,” says study author Deborah Cobb-Clark.
Men and women who remain positive about life are more likely to eat better, exercise regularly, and take better care of themselves overall. People who feel like life is a matter of fate or luck are less likely to live healthy, and are more likely to smoke and drink.
The bottom line: when you feel in control, you take control.
People who exhibit a positive mental attitude about life are often those who take an action-oriented approach to everything. They might run into the same obstacles as someone with a more negative outlook, but they choose to respond, not react, differently.
People who always feel like things happen to them and that these occurrences determine the course of their life are less likely to take control because they are less likely to feel in control.
Men and women responded differently in the study, according to the National Institutes of Health. Men seek physical results whereas women are more in tune with the overall pleasure they get from a healthy lifestyle.
Still, men and women see the results of their positive mental attitude in their health.
In a study we reviewed several months ago, researchers found that affirmations for health and positive thoughts also work to create behavioral and even physical changes. This could play a role in the effectiveness of placebos—that when we believe and think positively about something, it is more likely to come to fruition. If you need more proof that your own thoughts and positive mental attitude can cause self-healing, read this.
So, whether you are trying to lose weight or simply be healthier—thinking positively can help. Need some positive thinking tips? Try walking in the sunshine or forest bathing, petting a dog, or holding a baby. Actually, merely thinking about these things can have some similar benefits. So, stop sulking and begin smiling.