Attitude matters. I mention this because I feel that the power of a positive attitude is readily dismissed as excessive Pollyannaism. But I find that my thoughts and feelings shape my behavior, which in turn impacts the way I experience the world around me. I remember reading a study a few years ago about happiness and attitude. The researchers found that an individual’s happiness has nothing to do with the amount of positive or negative events over the course of a lifetime. Rather, the way we tell our story shapes our happiness. If I am a person who explains (and experiences) the chronology of my experiences as a bad period followed by a positive outcome, I will tend to feel happier. If I am a person who narrates her life experiences as positive events that are always ruined by a turn of bad luck or negative experiences, than I will be more likely to feel depressed, sad, and powerless.
Attitude also impacts our health, and therefore the quality and length of our lives. A recent research study tracked 2,818 patients for 15 years following the diagnosis of coronary heart disease. The biggest predictor for the 15 year survival rate was the initial expectations at diagnosis. The patients who believed they could improve their health despite their heart disease diagnosis were far more likely to be alive in 15 years than the patients who felt pessimistic about their diagnosis.
Optimistic patients are more likely to take preventative action to improve their health. Pessimistic patients, on the other hand, may not bother to take preventative health measures because they don’t believe their health can improve. It takes commitment and dedication to eat well, exercise regularly, and manage stress, cholesterol, blood pressure, and glucose levels. But by taking care of your health, you may live longer and feel better–regardless of your medical diagnosis.
If you live in Portland are are curious about what acupuncture can do you for your health, contact me at (503) 281-6909 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (503) 281-6909 end_of_the_skype_highlighting for a free consultation. My acupuncture treatments may include acupuncture, Asian bodywork, herbs, dietary counseling, and other lifestyle methods to help you improve your overall health.