Positive Thinking Strengthens Mind and Body

May 9, 2011
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By John Torre

The power of positive thinking, long a fundamental principle of Dale Carnegie Training, helps our members overcome objections, resolve conflicts, provide outstanding customer service, speak more effectively, and instill leadership qualities, among other deliverables.

But did you know that positive thinking goes well beyond winning friends and influencing people?

People with optimistic attitudes generally have a stronger positive immune response and tend to have better health. Suzanne C. Segerstrom and colleagues from the University of Kentucky investigated the nature and mechanisms of how optimism potentially exerts this effect and concluded, “Changes in optimism correlated with changes in [cell-mediated immunity]. Likewise, changes in optimism predicted changes in positive and, to a lesser degree, negative affect, but the relationship between optimism and immunity was partially accounted for only by positive affect. This dynamic relationship between expectancies and immunity has positive implications for psychological interventions to improve health, particularly those that increase positive affect.”

Positive thinking may also promote heart health. Karina W. Davidson and colleagues from Columbia University Medical Center found that people who find joy, excitement, and contentment in their daily lives might be protected from cardiovascular disease. Her team examined the association between positive affect and cardiovascular events in 1739 adults (862 men and 877 women) in the 1995 Nova Scotia Health Survey. The team found that those subjects with higher levels of positive affect were at a significantly lower risk of having a cardiovascular event over a 10-year period, even after adjusting for negative emotions.

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