Is your glass half full?
A recent study from the American Stroke Association suggests that optimism can reduce inflammation. In another small study of 49 stroke survivors, researchers examined the relationship between optimism, inflammation, stroke severity, and physical disability for three months after a stroke. “Our results suggest that optimistic people have a better disease outcome, thus boosting morale may be an ideal way to improve mental health and recovery after a stroke,” said Yun-Ju Lai, Ph.D., M.S., R.N., the study’s first author and a postdoctoral fellow in the neurology department at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. (See more here: https://newsroom.heart.org/news/optimism-reduces-stroke-severity-inflammation) While inflammation is an unfortunate side effect for stroke survivors, chronic inflammation affects millions worldwide as it is the #1 root cause for most diseases, including mental health conditions. So, whether you’re dealing with a diagnosed medical condition or just are looking to keep inflammation levels low, try injecting a bit more optimism into your life.
For some people, optimism comes naturally. For others—not so much. If you fall into the latter category, try to pay extra attention to your inner dialogue. Whenever you find yourself saying something negative or pessimistic, pause and offer yourself a counterargument. For example:
“Wow Cindy is wearing an ugly sweater today,” turns into “Power to Cindy for rocking that presentation last week.”
Make it a habit to leave every thought on a non-negative note. It’s not as hard as you might think; it just takes practice!