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“I believe that there is a connection between mind and body — and that our thoughts and attitudes/emotions affect physical functioning and overall health.” – Norman CousinsMany of you may be familiar with the extraordinary life and story of Norman Cousins, diplomat, editor and author, if not, here’s his story: He died in 1990 but in the mid 1960s he was diagnosed with a fatal disease and told that his death was imminent. Almost completely paralyzed, Cousins decided to leave the hospital, throw away his medications, check into a hotel and surround himself with things that would make him laugh. He watched Laurel and Hardy movies, read positive message books, enjoyed comic books from his childhood, and pored over inspirational writings. Detailed in one of his books, “Anatomy of an Illness,” Cousins chronicled his journey and the unbelievable restoration to complete health with another kind of medicine: laughter along with a changed outlook and attitude. Can optimists really heal themselves? Can humor impact your health? If you make statements like, “I’m sick with worry” or “I’m scared to death”, could you be fueling an illness? Long term and current research now tells us that the mind and immune system are inexorably connected and do not exist independently. For example, if you expect illness, you increase the odds of getting an illness. If you expect good health, your chances of enjoying good health are increased by that attitude. Duke University reported in the journal Medical Care that the way we perceive our health has a dramatic effect on our actual health. They found that in a group of 3,000 heart patients who were asked to rate their health, those who said it was “very good,” had three times the survival rate of the others who answered “poor” regardless of the variables in their health.
…regardless of risk factors, those who saw themselves as having poor health, roughly doubled their risk of death within five years.Johns Hopkins University confirms what Duke University reported and says that their researchers interviewed more than 5,000 people over the age of 65, and regardless of risk factors, those who saw themselves as having poor health, roughly doubled their risk of death within five years. Hard to believe, but pessimism proves to be more deadly than congestive heart failure or smoking 50 or more packs of cigarettes every year. A seven year study at the University of Texas found that people with an upbeat attitude about life could actually delay ageing suggesting that psychosocial factors play a role along with genes and physical health in determining how fast we age. They speculate that positive emotions might alter the chemical balance of the body. Leading the research, Dr. Glenn Ostir told BBC News Online: “I believe that there is a connection between mind and body — and that our thoughts and attitudes/emotions affect physical functioning and overall health.” There are other studies revealing that depressed people may be 42 percent more likely to develop diabetes. Sadness seems to stack the odds against you. Our mind is a powerful weapon that can be used to defeat our enemy, disease, or as an ally to heal us and give us great health and a long life. Maybe there is something to the old adage Laughter is the Best Medicine. Feel Free to drop a comment below and tell us what you think. #WopwithAcemaax