Accentuating the Positive

“Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses!” Alphonse Karr, A Tour Round My Garden, 1855.

It’s all about ‘perspective.’ When we see things from a positive perspective, chances are that they will work out better for us. This does not mean that we should cultivate a Pollyanna-Positive-Thinking mode, thus denying unpleasant issues that need attention. But, if one deals with what comes along with a more positive perspective or outlook, the outcome will tend to work out better.

Studies show that happier people tend to be healthier. According to the Mayo Clinic, positive thinking brings about many health benefits, such as:

  • Better psychological and physical well-being
  • Lower rates of depression
  • Better coping skills

Whether we are conscious of it or not, we go through the day with sporadic thoughts. Have you ever stopped for a moment to focus on what you were thinking? Our minds are constantly wandering from one thought to another, and so many times, we are unaware of what we were thinking. Some of us have more negative thoughts than positive; others may have more positive ones.

Mayo Clinic experts advise that if we focus our attention on the more positive thoughts, we will tend to be happier. Again, this is hard to do since we spend so much of our time not really being conscious of the thoughts that are going through our minds. But, if we could catch ourselves and turn our negative thinking into a more positive perspective, we would tend to be happier.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the key to being healthier is how resilient we are at handling the hard balls that life throws at us. A person with a more positive perspective will, in turn, better handle these surprises. Experts believe that happy people tend to “compartmentalize” and “create boundaries,” which helps them handle situations with less stress.

And it gets better… studies are showing that not only does positive attitude correlate with better health, but older people who “feel good about aging,” have better chances at recovering from a disability.

The Yale School of Public Health conducted a study on a group of 598 individuals who were 70 years and older. The respondents were divided into two groups: having positive versus negative attitudes about aging (feel good versus bad about aging). The groups were interviewed on a monthly basis and requested to answer home-based assessments every 1 1/2 years for 10 years.

They found that the group that held positive attitudes, who had positive feelings about older people and being older, were +44% more likely to recover from a difficult disability. Recovery was defined as the ability to perform four activities: bathing, dressing, moving from a chair, and walking.

This ties in with Dr. Gladys McGarey’s positive philosophy of Aging Into Health. No matter what our health status may be, we have the capacity to heal and become healthy. It is a different perspective where we treat disease as only one facet of the many aspects of our lives. We are whole physical and spiritual beings, and we take personal responsibility for our lives by listening to the practitioner as a coach and following the ‘Doctor Within’ that guides us through our health process.

Wherever you are in life, whatever disease-state you may be in, and no matter your age, you are still healthy and whole. Joe is crippled and wheelchair-bound because of an accident. He could sit in his wheelchair and dwell on his misfortune, feeling sorry for himself. Or, he could get on with it and embrace life, in spite of his physical challenges. He could treat his physical problem as only one aspect of his life. He could carve a happy and healthy life, in spite of the disabilities that are trying to hold him back. Illness is only one facet of life. It offers a doorway to healing on many levels, including the possibility of growth. Life itself is healing and age is not our enemy.

We have so much to live for. With a positive attitude, let’s enjoy the process…

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