Positivity, Happiness, and Our Health
Hi, my name is Dr. Tadi. I am one of the neurologists at CHI Health.
Can a Negative Attitude Affect Your Health?
In the modern world, we have a lot of negative impulses coming from television, newspapers, Facebook feeds, and many other things. So, with negative thinking comes “fight or flight” hormones that release into the body; cortisol is one example. This can be okay for a short period of time, maybe a few hours or even days. But, if it happens for many days, months, or years, then it creates a very bad effect on our bodies, just like getting hypertension, diabetes, cancers, heart problems, or brain problems.
What Actually Happens in Your Brain when You Harbor a Negative Attitude?
When we have a lot of negative emotions, it has a negative effect on our body. As discussed earlier, if we are in a “fight or flight” state, hormones like cortisol get released, and this can cause the blood pressure to go up. When the blood pressure goes up, the glucose system in the body also is affected; you breathe faster, oxygen levels may go down, other negative side effects happen, which in turn affects the brain, and we can’t think properly!
How Does Positive Thinking Help?
When you change that negative thinking to positive thinking, it helps with creativity, impulsivity, and we are more compassionate and empathetic. It has also shown tremendous health benefits; people live longer when they are in a positive mood. For example, if you look at places around the world where people are living to 100 years or more all of the time, you may ask, “what is special about those places?” We call these areas “blue zones,” and they include Sardinia, Italy, Loma Linda, California, Okinawa, Japan, and others. In these cities, they focus more on gratitude, positivity, simple living and high thinking. Because of this approach to life, they have better lives and longevity.
Are There Chemicals in the Brain that Affect Happiness?
Today I’d like to talk about four chemicals:
- Number one is endorphins; this is the chemical that releases when you are very happy. It blocks pain.
- Second is serotonin; it is also called the “feel good” hormone. Serotonin makes people more sociable.
- The third chemical is well known; it’s called dopamine. When people are happy, the dopamine releases into the body, and it has a great effect on the human body and also the brain. It is also sometimes called the “rewarding hormone.” When people pat on your back and say, “Hey, you did a good job!” this is the hormone that gets released.
- The last, but not least, hormone is oxytocin. When a mother delivers a baby the hormone that is released is oxytocin, thus it is called the “bonding hormone.”
So, being in a positive mood automatically causes all of these hormones in our body to get released, and it has a big impact on us. It is true that when being positive you live longer and have less diseases!
Dr. Tadi is a neurologist at the CHI Health Neurological Institute. Dr. Tadi is a member of the American Academy of Neurology. He is an assistant Professor in Neurology at Creighton University School of Medicine. His special interest is stroke care.