Evidence for Positive Thinking

Research Topics - Negative 'Girl Talk' May Cause Misery

By Audrey Marlene, MS

According to researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia, a study that appeared in the July 2007 issue of the American Psychological Association (APA) journal Developmental Psychology, girls who share their negative stories and problems to their friends may be increasing their anxiety and depression.

It was found that girls who shared their problems with friends strengthened their friendships but at the same time it also increased their feelings of depression and anxiety. This same tendency was not seen in boys. They found that boys who shared their problems increased feelings of friendship but there was no impact on their depressive or anxiety levels.

According to Cynthia Thomas, crisis response chair for the Arizona School Counselors Association "the danger is when the discussion between these girls is negative and destructive and is lacking the discussion of effective coping."

We as parents must first learn how to cope with our own negative feelings so we can teach our daughters how to cope with theirs. We must be there to listen in order to give them coping strategies and not allow them to ruminate about their negative thoughts. Feelings of sadness are a normal part of life. However, it is our responsibility as parents to help our daughters work through their feelings so they do not get stuck in a negative state of mind.

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Research Topics - A Positive Mind, A Longer Life

According to Becca Levy, PhD, a Yale University social psychologist who focuses her research on aging and attitudes, a positive attitude toward aging may help to add some extra years to your life.

In a longitudinal study conducted, she found that people with more positive views of their own aging, lived on average, 7.6 years longer than people with more negative views. The participants whose positive attitude was measured by their self-worth, will to live, and hopefulness, lived longer than the participants who were not. The study also concluded that a negative attitude toward aging affects memory, hearing, self-esteem, and overall physical health.

We all have heard about the mind/body connection. We do not know for sure the cellular mechanism behind this connection but there is enough research that tells us how a positive mind can improve our overall health. It seems apparent that if we maintain a positive attitude our general health can be remain strong as we continue to age.

Here's an excerpt from Anne Lamott on aging. "I smiled with a secret Cheshire-cat smile of pleasure and relief in being older-49 and change, which even I would have to admit is no longer extremely late youth. But I would not give you back a year of life lived. Age has given me what I was looking for my entire life-it gave me me. It provided the time and experience and failures and triumphs and friends who helped me step into the shape that had been waiting for me all my life. I fit into me now-mostly. I have an organic life finally, not the one people imagined for me or tried to get me to have or the life someone."

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Research Topics - Positive attitude and Getting Colds

According to a study by psychologist Sheldon Cohen of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, positive emotions can bolster the immune system to improve health. The study suggest an enhanced control of an infection-fighting substance, interleukin-6, in people with positive emotional patterns. Positive emotions were measured by one's high self-esteem, extroversion, optimism, and a feeling of control over one's life.

I personally have experienced the benefits of a positive attitude in an enhanced immune system. I have battled for the last 17 years a disease called lupus. I believe it has been my positive attitude that has helped me to get the illness under control and in remission. Lupus is a disease where the immune system is overactive and attacks self. My optimistic attitude over the years allowed me to make healthy choices, which today has paid off.

People with a positive attitude are more willing to take care of their health, exercise regularly, and eat properly. People who are negative and feeling down are less likely to do these things. They are more likely to abuse drugs or alcohol, which exacerbates the negative emotion. The positive mind creates a healthy body and vice versa.

It is important to find emotional balance in your life. If your find yourself not feeling as positive as you would like to feel, try to determine the cause. If you need a place to begin, Click Here to evaluate your emotions. If you need help contact someone who can and get started on a life of positive emotions.

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Research Topics - Positive Emotions = A Happy Heart

Each day we are becoming more aware of the connection between the mind and the body. More recently research is providing evidence of the critical link between the heart and brain. Studies from the HeartMath Institute suggest that there is continuous two-way dialogue with the brain and the heart. Our emotions alter the signals the brain sends to the heart and the heart responds.

The study explains how the heart reacts to emotional and mental experiences and why certain emotions stress the body and drain our energy. When we experience feelings such as anger, frustration, anxiety and insecurity, our heart rhythm pattern becomes more irregular. These irregular patterns are transmitted to the emotional centers of the brain, which it recognizes as negative or stressful feelings. These signals create the negative feelings we experience in the heart area and the body. The inconsistent, irregular heart rhythm also interferes with our ability to think clearly.

The HeartMath's study also showed that when we experience warm emotions of love, caring, appreciation and compassion, the heart produces a very different rhythm. When these positive emotions are felt, the type of heart rhythms that accompanies this emotion is considered to be good for cardiovascular stability.

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Research Topic - Positive Expectation = Positive Thinking – Your Choice

Research has shown that our expectations can have a profound impact on our level of positive thinking. People with low expectations internalize their negative mindset and those with positive expectations achieve accordingly.

Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson conducted studies to prove this theory the "Rosenthal theory" with students. They showed that if teachers expected superior performance from some students those students did excel in their performance.

Scientists can now measure the changes that take place in the brain by the release of more endorphins - chemicals that act as natural painkillers when one's expectations are changed. According to Edward E. Jones, a psychologist at Princeton University "our expectancies not only affect how we see reality but also affect the reality itself."

Expecting more positive outcomes in your life allows you to think more positively and consequently more positive changes will begin to take place in your life. A positive expectation is a choice we must all make. Yes, it is a choice! Your brain responds to your thoughts, emotions, and actions so feed it with positive expectations and positive thinking will follow naturally. Expect greatness in your life and great things will come your way.

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