Ruddy Adam has written me again. Love his conclusions…
Twenty-years ago when the first studies began coming in that showed positive thinking, happy people lived much longer and were far healthier than negative thinking, unhappy people — researchers were shocked.
They began doubling down on the studies. They changed them. They did everything they could to get the results to change. Over that time they not only remained stable; they have shown even more tellingly the same results: that a positive outlook whips the hell out of a negative one when it comes to our physical and mental health.
In length of life alone, positive people live on average 7 & ½ years longer than negative people. Quality of life years can easily double that: 15-years of better life for positive people over negative ones.
It stands to reason, because our brain hates negativism and our mood strongly affects what our brain does.
When we’re negative, when we say negative things, when we think negative thoughts, when we hear negative things, when we’re in a negative situation or atmosphere, our brain spills out what we’ll call (for simplicity sake) negative chemicals that affect our entire body — effectively putting our body on alert as if we were facing a deadly enemy.
The more negative the situation, the stronger the brain pumps out those chemicals. The longer people stay negative, the more the brain strains to pump negative chemicals, and thus the more it hates its state. That is truly brain drain.
The chemicals that result from negative thinking raise your blood pressure, speed up your heart rate, cause stress hormones to come running out, raise your blood sugar levels, rev up your nervous system, put your immune system on alert, and though the brain is designed to be in this state every so often to protect you — it detests constantly staying in that mode for no more reason than your being a Negative Nellie or Nash. The more this happens, the worse effect it has on your body, your well-being, your health.
In other words, you age — quickly — and open yourself up for diseases of all types to set up house in your body.
The opposite occurs when you’re in a positive mood or situation: the brain pours out positive chemicals and they affect your entire body. In general, your blood pressure goes down, your heart rate goes down, stress hormones that cause aging are neutralized, your nervous system calms down, your immune system is strengthened because it’s allowed to rest, and your brain loves this state of being and is itself more healthy. The more you are in this relaxed kind of state, the better shape your body and brain will be in — and you have a much better chance of staving off diseases.
It’s worth noting that, our brain does not differentiate between receiving and giving negatives; it reacts the same way to each. It hates both. When you hit a poor soul with a negative comment by correcting them or criticizing them it indeed whacks their brain — but it also whacks yours just as badly. Both your brain and theirs act accordingly by pumping out those negative chemicals — which become deadly if pumped out habitually.
Today the vast number of studies showing that positive strongly trumps negative makes the case for positive over negative extremely cogent. I myself have read over sixty studies from around the world — all — showing that positive, happy people are depressed far less, get fewer diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, arterial thickening, stroke, Alzheimer’s, cancer, arthritis/gout (and numerous other joint disorders), and chronic inflammation — later in life. Positive people live longer and have better overall lives (quality of life) than negative thinking people.
Let’s take a few of the things that negative people would quickly accept and believe versus positive people who go the opposite way — to show how easy it is to be negative and not realize it.
Negative Thinkers are always looking for things to go wrong: “Anything that can go wrong — will go wrong.” “If it’s not one problem it’s another.”
Positive Thinkers are always looking for things to go well: “Anything prepared for and properly executed that can go well — will go well.” “Things done well generally work well and have few challenges.”
To Negative Thinkers, things (homes, cars, relationships) they have to fix are problems — they are drudgery and pains that may or may not be able to be put back as they were. If they don’t run from what they see as problems, they work at getting things back as they were — then worry over what’s going to happen next.
To Positive Thinkers, things (homes, cars, relationships) they have to fix are challenges — they are things they might make better than they were. They don’t look at them as burdens. They look at them as things that come and go in life. They look to improve things. They take care of those things as best they can — then move on feeling that, because they’ve done the best they can, things will more often than not go well from there out.
Negative Thinkers often say, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” This very negative view of the future implies that no one is ever going to invent anything any better and no one is ever going to have an idea that is any better. The same old same old is as good as it gets.
Positive Thinkers, on the other hand, believe there will always be innovation, that youth, enthusiasm, and imagination will always come up with new and better ideas, and they themselves are always looking to hone ideas, crafts, and strategies to make them better. They look forward to the new being better and trust in that view.
I will have more on the brain and how it affects our health and how we can protect and aid our brain in upcoming studies. At this point, rather than point to numerous varied studies, I’ll source one group of psychology and longevity researchers who read 160 studies that showed a positive outlook trumped a negative one in almost every case.
The few studies that were inconclusive or did not find any difference in positive or negative were similar to this one:
“Failed to find self-reported health differences in the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, with a 36-year follow-up, between those
who smiled and did not smile in high school yearbook photos.”
This is a weak and even flawed study, because photographers normally told people to smile for the camera — causing even people who do not normally smile to do so. Also, it was a “self-reported follow up” — rather than a formal one carried out by a research team.
Here are a few examples of the studies and of the Reader Team’s findings of them.
Research Read: Long-term studies of humans, experimental human and animal trials, and studies that evaluate the health status of positive thinking people versus negative thinking people.
The Reader Team reviewed eight different types of studies. The general conclusion from each type of study is that people’s outlook — that is, feeling positive about their lives, not stressed out, not depressed, not negative thinkers — contributes both to longer lives and better health (better health equals quality of life).
Study Example 1: Researchers followed 7,518 white women 67-years and older, from several USA cities. After 7 years, taking into account for many diseases and cognitive functioning already in place, the results showed that negativism and depression strongly predicted all-cause death rates, particularly cardiovascular disease and ensuing death.
Study Example 2: Researchers followed 34,511 Swedish people aged 16 to 74 at 5 and 10 years. High anxiety and nervousness predicted more suicide attempts, psychiatric illnesses, hospital care, and heart disease.
Study Example 3: Researchers followed 180 Catholic nuns from early adulthood to old age. They found that those who wrote positive autobiographies in their early 20s — largely contracted life-threatening diseases later in life and hence outlived those who wrote more negative accounts of their youth.
Study Example 4: Researchers followed 1306 participants from the Greater Boston area, aged 21–80, for 12 years. An optimistic view of life predicted lower rates of heart attack and fatal coronary heart disease.
Study Example 5: Researchers followed nearly 5000 university students for more than 40 years. They found that those who were most negative (had a pessimistic outlook of the future) as students — largely contracted life-threatening diseases sooner in life and hence died younger than their more positive contemporaries.
Study Example 6: Researchers followed 63,469 nurses aged 30–55 from the time they entered the Nurses’ Health Study and checked them every 2 years for 30-years. Result: Depression and negativism were highly predictive of fatal cardiovascular disease.
Study Example 7: Researchers provided what the Reader Team said was “an excellent review” of physiological pathways through which emotions can influence bodily reactions. The result: Negative emotions enhance the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Inflammation in turn is strongly linked to certain cancers, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, various frailties, osteoporosis, and cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, negative feelings can contribute to delayed wound healing and infection.
In respect to the human immune system, the Reader Team concluded that long-term positive thinking and emotional traits produce a better and stronger immune system and that negative thinking produced a weaker immune system. This falls in line with the many other studies I’ve read.
Laboratory experiments on humans have found that positive moods reduce stress-related hormones, increase immune function, and aid the heart in recovering after strenuous exertion or from stressful situations.
In other studies, marital conflicts and high hostility between married couples were associated with slow wound healing and a poorer immune response — more diseases and early death.
Researchers from other studies as well as the Reader Team conclude that anxiety, worry, depression, negativism, a lack of enjoyment of daily activities, and a lack of enjoyment of life in general, along with a pessimistic outlook on life, are all associated with higher rates of disease and a shorter life span.
Still — after all these years — and hundreds of different studies that have had almost uniquely the same results, the Reader Team (as well as other researchers) were shocked that our mental outlook, our mood, our way of seeing the world (positively or negatively) affect our ability to stave off or contract diseases and to add to or to cut short our lives.
Even with so many different kinds of studies pointing to the same conclusion — that health and longevity are strongly influenced by our mood and outlook shocks them points to a deep problem.
After having been through a system that thoroughly brainwashes its students with one kind of thinking, and thus closes their minds to any alternative ideas (which in turn causes their brain to reduce its option choices to “this way only” or “only this and nothing else”), it’s easy to understand why so many people with so many degrees sitting in high places among the ivory towers are still astounded at loads of research that go against their initial teachings.
Truly, it shows a lot of cynicism on the part of shocked researchers — who should be happy and excited to discover what we must call a newly discovered yet already known reason why we get sick or stay healthy.
I remain for improving our health for a greater quality of life: Ruddy Adam
The Entire Work of the Reader Team with All 160 Studies Can be Found Here