How Positive Thinking Keeps You Healthy

Having a positive attitude is about more than being in a good mood. The way you think determines parts of your body chemistry, which in turn control your physical health.

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It is no coincidence that you feel more energetic and relaxed when you are thinking positively, or that you feel lazy and tired if you are thinking negatively. Hormones secreted by the body, which are then carried into the blood stream, greatly affect how we feel. The sensations of impatience and pressure which accompany anger are caused by stress hormones like cortisol and norepinephrine. And it is the brain which controls the release of such hormones, influencing heart rate, blood pressure and breathing patterns.  

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Thinking positively is exercise for the mind. Even though it may not come easily, it remains an essential part of living a healthy life. In anecdotal cases, some medical patients have beaten odds stacked highly against them by refusing to believe a negative prognosis, instead surrounding them with family, friends and comedy films. Norman Cousins, former editor of the Sunday Review, was one such case. He outlived his doctor's expectations by 26 years after being diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, a painful and degenerative spine disease.

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