The powerful health benefits of optimism

How staying positive has its perks

Nutrition & Health Coach 2By Melissa Petrichko, WAC Nutrition & Health Coach

The choice to live and experience life through an optimistic perspective has proven to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression; while increasing life span, strengthening the immune system; and improving physical, mental, and emotional health. According to several studies, the data supports the claim that a positive outlook has its health benefits.

There is no better time than during the holiday season to practice positivity through an attitude of gratitude.  The simple act of seeing the good in your life and expressing thankfulness for it will eventually turn negative thinking into positive thinking. Despite our human propensity see things that may put us in danger, we can slowly begin to naturally see the good in life through becoming aware of negative self-talk, living a healthy lifestyle, surrounding ourselves with positive people (because they do rub off on you), and practicing positive self-talk.

It all comes down to your mindset and how you interpret life through your unique perspective. Here are a few simple ways to be more positive in your life:

Bring more positivity into your home environment

  • Clean up the clutter. Strongly linked to stress and feeling overwhelmed, decluttering goes a long way toward more peace and joy in your living environment.
  • Close your blinds or curtains at night to encourage a night of restful sleep, and open them in the morning to let the morning light in gently. Experiencing morning light is a mood booster and helps you start the day with happier feelings.
  • Bring pops of your favorite color or photographs of happy memories into your home. These small doses of things that make you feel good will also contribute to overall happiness.

Move more and sit less

The fact that exercise provides tremendous physical health benefits is obvious, but did you know that there are enormous mental and emotional benefits?  Exercise helps to reduce stress, improve mood, and alleviate symptoms of low self-esteem. You can reap these benefits with as little as 30 minutes of total movement every day.

Eat a minimally processed diet

Many of us already know how a healthy natural food diet contributes to optimal health and wellness while reducing our risk of chronic disease. Still, new research continues to show the relationship between diet and mood. These studies link high glycemic (processed carb) diets with increased symptoms of negative feelings and depression.  Replacing highly processed carbs with more natural fruits and vegetables will not only improve the health of your body, but improve your level of optimism as well!

Elevating your emotional health

We all need a little help sometimes.  Here are a few suggestions to help boost your mood through listening:

  • “10 % Happier,” book and podcast by Dan Harris
  • “Read The Power of Positive Thinking” by Norman Vincent Peale
  • Get-Happy Ted Talk “What makes a Good Life?” by Robert Waldinger
  • Or, simply tune out the noise and listen to some of your favorite music!

Take advantage of this holiday season and put into practice an attitude of gratitude. See how the side effect of appreciation not only uplifts the receiver, but also improves the giver’s mood and emotional health at the same time!

—Reach WAC Nutrition & Health Coach Melissa Petrichko at mpetrichko@wac.netView WAC Wellness services online.

—Posted November 22, 2021; JC.

More Athletics & Wellness

Knee to Wall test
Instructor Insights
Have a Smarter New Year