“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” – Helen Keller
A healthy outlook can positively impact physical health. Positive and negative situations affect blood pressure, heart rate, and muscle contractions. When mentally engaging in something enjoyable – enjoying a sunset, eating great food, spending time with a good friend – positive emotions invoke creativity and possibility. A situation causing negative emotions narrows the mind to a singular objective – finding the wallet, meeting a deadline, evading harm – blocking out everything else until that objective is met. Thoughts precede emotions, and mounting evidence links a positive outlook with positive effects on health.
A Healthy Mental Routine
A person’s routine can incite neurochemical releases that positively affect mood and health. Exercise releases bliss-causing endocannabinoids and pain-killing endorphins. Achieving a goal releases dopamine, resulting in the feeling of accomplishment. Physical contact with another person releases oxytocin and vasopressin, which breed trust and loyalty in other people. Relaxation increases gamma-aminobutyric acid (commonly referred to as GABA), slowing down the firing of neurons. The highs and lows of self-esteem are linked to serotonin levels, with lower levels being displayed as emotional sensitivity and higher levels being displayed as a willingness to accept challenges. Serotonin can be increased by accepting challenges that have a sense of personal purpose and meaning.
Laughter As a Medicine
Laughter relaxes the whole body. A hearty laugh relieves stress and can relax muscles for up to 45 minutes after. Laughter also inhibits the production of stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies. Laughter triggers endorphin release, which creates a sense of well-being and can temporarily relieve pain. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect against heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems. Increased circulation aids muscle relaxation, helping to reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress.
A Positive Outlook
Viewpoints affect mood. A positive mentality leads to open-minded vision, encouraging the free flow of productive and healthful brain chemicals. Certain essential oils, like bergamot, ylang ylang, and grapefruit are often believed to contribute to a positive mentality. The panacea of the silver lining can have positive effects on the body. Keeping hope alive during negative situations can keep the body going strong.