Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
1 Jul

The Power of Positive Thinking

positivethinkingAre you realizing the full potential of your mind?

Now, before you recoil in horror from the New Agey guru-lingo that question probably sounded like, bear with me a minute. I was recently thumbing through one of my favorite books, Dr. Bruce Lipton’s The Biology of Belief, and it got me considering the possibility that creative visualization and positive thinking can both play enormous roles in the context of the Primal Blueprint. Lipton’s book discusses the emerging science of gene expression (sound familiar?), including the very PB-friendly notion that our environment – our diet, our stress level, even our state of mind – controls our DNA, rather than the other way around. If that’s the case (and the science seems to be agreeing that it is), our thoughts, actions, and moods might play an even bigger role in our health and general wellness than previously thought.

We’ve all heard anecdotal accounts of and seen movies about people beating terrible diseases with the power of positive thought. Little kids in baseball caps and terminal wards who get better when their hero hits a couple home runs for them at the big game. Cancer cases where the chemotherapy and radiation treatment don’t seem to work, but the reintroduction of a former lost love does. Even Lance Armstrong attributes a ton of his success – and part of his survival – to positive thinking and optimism. And I don’t think anyone would deny that being generally glum, surly, and unconfident about life will generally result in unfavorable outcomes – but does that mean the opposite is necessarily true?

There’s definitely evidence that positive thinking can be protective. Take breast cancer, for example. While the biggest determinants are largely genetic and environmental (including Vitamin D blood levels) in nature, one study found that of 255 women with breast cancer, most had either suffered adverse life events, like divorce or the death of a loved one, or were likely to characterize their pre-cancer life as “unhappy.” The control group – 367 healthy, cancer-free women – tended to be happier. These results suggest that a person’s state of mind can affect their susceptibility to cancer, but it doesn’t mean thinking happy thoughts can replace treatment. In fact, an Australian study found that a patient’s mental well being had no effect on breast cancer survival or recurrence. It may be that thinking positively can help stave off the depression that often accompanies an illness, and it can even reduce the chance of developing breast cancer, but it’s not a magic cure-all, and it won’t miraculously destroy cancer cells.

One way in which positive thinking can absolutely, unequivocally improve health is via the reduction of stress. Stress and negative thoughts – the two go hand in hand. If there’s one, the other probably isn’t far off. There’s no way the banker who works fifteen hour days, never sees his family, and loses hair every time he showers is happy; he’s stressed out beyond belief, and the negative health effects are plain to see (and some, like increased heart attack risk, poor sleep habits, and stroke, are probably lurking beneath the surface). Being happier would most likely reduce a lot of his issues and kill the stress, but it’s not as simple as putting on a (fake) smile and thinking (fake) happy thoughts. He can’t just will himself into thinking positively. His positive thoughts need some basis in reality; otherwise, he’s just lying to himself. As long as he’s still amassing all that stress and working the same job without any behavioral changes, all the happy thoughts in the world aren’t going to change a thing.

Researchers at the University of Waterloo in Ontario found that such “false” positive thinking can actually have a net negative effect. Merely repeating positive statements – regardless of whether or not they actually made sense or were applicable to a patient’s real mindset – wasn’t helpful to the subjects who already had low self-esteem. Those subjects who were already happy and confident found them helpful, but that was probably because the statements were just reinforcing what they already knew. The unhappy patients just got unhappier. Rather than filling them with newfound self-confidence, the superficial positive thinking just reminded them how terrible they felt. The happy people were telling the truth when they thought, “I am a lovable person,” because they believed it. When the unhappy people “thought” that, it amounted to a big lie, because they didn’t believe it. They may very well have actually been “lovable,” but it didn’t matter.

So what does this tell us about positive thinking? Is there any merit to it? Absolutely. Positive thought is essential to health and happiness, but you need to back it up with something substantial. Just going around with a silly smile on your face isn’t enough, unless you follow through with actual behavioral changes that reflect your optimism. Don’t think of happy thoughts as a panacea; think of them as a symptom of good living. Live well, eat well, move well, and you will be naturally happy. Also, thinking happy thoughts is a pretty reliable indicator that you’re doing it right and living well by the Ten Laws.

I’ll be touching on this topic again in the future. I’d love to hear your thoughts on how positive thinking plays (or doesn’t play) a role in your Primal lifestyle. Hit me up with a comment!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Completely neglecting any new-agey (e.g. The Secret – uhg) or even the religion influenced classic work of Norman Vincent Peale, I am a strong proponent of positive thinking. I believe that you mind is incapable of investigating all possible solutions unless you think positively in relation to a goal (e.g. it is possible and you can do it). Sometimes the solutions presented may not meet the stated goal, however, they may in fact exceed the stated goal. I see this in both my personal and business life (and it is well documented in the latter). I never assumed a project was impossible, either due to complexity or time constraint, and accepted such projects gladly. It has really paid off in my professional career.

    Griff wrote on July 1st, 2009
  2. There is no question in my mind that a healthy, positive outlook on life is essential for a healthy body. I encourage everyone to read the fascinating book Anatomy of the Spirit by Caroline Myss. It provides remarkable evidence of how our internal world affects the health and well-being of our body. It’s so funny to me that our modern view supports the brain and the body as being separate entities. They’re not just connected (via that thing we call the neck, duh!) but are really two parts of the whole.

    Adam wrote on July 1st, 2009
  3. Biology of Belief is a great book! So is Molecules of Emotion by Candace Pert.

    Interesting research about “false” positive thinking. I think one of the most effective ways to stay positive is to accept negative thoughts and reframe them into positive ones before they spiral out of control. There’s positivity to be had from any situation!

    If you need a little help believing this, read Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. Also check out the video of Nick Vujicic that I included at the end of this article.

    Vin - NaturalBias wrote on July 1st, 2009
  4. I believe in the power of persistence and positive thinking. But there’s a bit of the chicken and the egg here, too. For instance, I recently encountered an article that detailed how teens who believe they will die young tend to engage in riskier behaviors… Makes for a self-fulfilling prophesy.

    Greg at Live Fit wrote on July 1st, 2009
  5. I forgot to say – I thought the example of Michael Jordan in Primal Blueprint was pretty interesting. It’s a bit of a stretch (no pun intended), but I believe that it’s possible. I wonder if it’s too late for the rest of us. :)

    Vin - NaturalBias wrote on July 1st, 2009
  6. I loved Biology of Belief. I read it some time ago and was delighted to hear it was one of Mark’s also. I highly recommend everybody read it.

    Positive thinking absolutely helps determine the quality of your life. I just wish I could get my mother to realize that- lol. *sigh*

    Diana Renata wrote on July 1st, 2009
  7. Believing that everything happens for a reason and finding the positive side in any situation is the only way I’ve gotten through certain bumps in my life. I highly believe positive thinking and the health of one’s body are intricately connected… just look at when people get sick the most! Often happens when they are stressed, unhappy, or feeling depressed.

    Holly wrote on July 1st, 2009
  8. While I think The Secret is mostly bunk I do think the ideas in What the Bleep Do We Know are right on. I recommend that along with some Eckhart Tolle and Yehuda Berg’s Kaballah work.

    Markus wrote on July 1st, 2009
  9. Not to mention, since we’re living in a world that’s so negative and pessimistic – I think that being an upbeat (but not naive) optimist helps personal problem solving skills tenfold. Instead of focusing all your energy on the problem at hand, its focused on finding a solution and then moving ahead.

    Most of the depressive and unhappy people I know have issues that instead of attempting to solve – they just wallow in them.

    “Worrying, doubting and stressing are like sitting in a rocking chair, it’ll give you something to do – but it won’t get you anywhere!”

    : )

    Ryan Robitaille wrote on July 1st, 2009
  10. I am a Clinical Psychologist and I work full-time with people with anxiety and mood disorders like generalised anxiety, OCD, PTSD, and depression. I am very informed by Evolutionary Psychology, and think the PB is an absolutely wonderful resource!

    Through experience I have found that when we seek to engage actively with our thoughts, to wrestle with them, or when we attempt to create artificially positive perspectives and clever alternatives – then we continue to suffer. Sometimes we even feel worse as a result of this probing, manipulation of our minds’ automatic thinking.

    From a primal point of view it makes sense for the human mind to have evolved automatic anxiety/risk minimisation as a default strategy, even though it creates such unpleasant feelings and emotions when it does so, i.e. fear. Likewise, depression and associated emotions like sadness/shame/guilt make sense as regulators of our actions and behaviour which minimise social risk taking. I am of the opinion that if we could audit our minds most of us would come up with negative thinking most of the time – I believe this is a Darwinian reality.

    However, it seems that recent research and experience reminds us to take our thoughts with a pinch of salt. Remember they aren’t facts, just events determined by evolutionary processes designed to enhance survival. Be mindful of them, without secondary processing or elaboration. For me ‘positive thinking’ often gives rise to unnecessarily protracted contact with negative ideas.

    Rather, seek to be aware of one’s environment, a task being undertaken, a conversation, literature, art, sounds, smells, tastes, music….It is when we become absorbed in activity (e.g. primal exercise, cooking etc) that our minds and emotions loosen up. When we endeavour to simply live with awareness of what is revealed to us through our senses, without delving into the mire of thinking unnecessarily, then we can enter a series of flow states – totally absorbed in actions, details, and other neutral or decidedly pleasurable features of life. This isn’t thought suppression, just choice – gentle, persistent choice about where we rest our attention.

    Sprinting, frisbee, primal food preparation, walking, hiking, lifting heavy objects are all opportunities for this kind of mindfulness which offsets thinking and the inevitable negativity found therein.

    While we do have primal, stone age minds, we also have prefrontal cortexes which function like a clutch – we can choose to smoothly disengage and live life in the here and now if we so wish. Long term, I think this moment-moment living yields a shift in automatic thinking towards greater confidence and positivity, which ofcourse is not problematic when it intrudes consciousness.

    RG wrote on July 1st, 2009
    • Mark/RG,

      I have written you (Mark) previously about nutrition but this post hits home in another fashion. I am stressed out. Plain and simple. I seem to have this inherent negative outlook on everything. I am not confident, I over-analyze everything, I am cynical and the list goes on. I have always been that way. The best thing I have going for me, mentally, is I have a great sense of humor. I laugh A LOT. People say that all the time about themselves but with me it is true. If you met me you’d probably think, “Wow, that is a happy guy”. Inside I am anguished and lonely despite my large group of friends.

      Within the last year and a half I have changed my lifestyle to include PB and CrossFit. Nutritionally and physically I have changed my life around. I have lost 80lbs. BUT I AM STILL NOT HAPPY. I know I need to tighten up in areas but I have been dealing with depressed emotions for a while. Whether I am 100% for a month or a solid 80/20 streak.
      What intrigues me most about this article and RG’s response is the “faking positivity…fake smiles…fake phrases”. RG touches on it briefly, what one can do to start generating those honest positive thoughts. Can either of you elaborate?
      My Dad is clinically depressed, my Mom is going through her second divorce. I am really struggling here. I firmly believe that PB and exercise is the best way from a health stand-point but how can I stay out of the shrink’s office and away from the same type of collection of pills my Dad is on?

      Zach

      PS – my job sucks :)

      zach wrote on July 7th, 2009
      • Zach,

        I feel for you, man. I imagine it can be incredibly frustrating doing everything “right” from a health standpoint and still battling something as pervasive as stress and depression. I think this question deserves an elaborate answer. I’ll try to work it into my schedule. Thanks for the comment, Zach, and stay in touch.

        Mark Sisson wrote on July 7th, 2009
        • Hi Zach,

          I am so sorry life is pretty bad for you right now.

          At times life takes lousy turns we cannot do anything about. Moreover, we may have been born with a propensity towards negative thinking and unpleasant emotionality. What to do?

          You can take pride in the fact that Grok was similar – without habitually negative, anxious thinking he would have died by misadventure and humanity would have died out as a result of too much social and environmental risk taking. Grok was healthy, sometimes happy, sometimes sad, sometimes anxious. We had to evolve a capacity for fear and gloomy pessimism…it’s in my genes (especially as a Northern European who avoided risks such as emmigration!) Ever wonder why the world’s extraverts and positive thinkers tend to live in LA – the furthest point West requiring the biggest accumulation of risks in travel and social exchanges.

          As I said in my previous post, my feeling about positive thinking is that it’s great if it is spontaneous, heartfelt and bubbles up from within. For most of us though, it’s not. Hence, I live a long way from Califronia (unfortunately!)

          Second, I truly believe that the more attention we deploy to our thinking the worse we feel. A great researcher called Susan Nolen-Hoeksema writes of ‘rumination’ as a key component in depression. This involves our repetitive, recurrent consideration and over-analysis of life’s problems – usually we just figure things are hopeless and feel lousy. Deliberating over why, how, etc. leads us into spirals of anxiety and depression because we won’t reach answers. Likewise, worrying leads us nowehere.

          We cannot stop the tide of intrusive, negative, worrisome or gloomy thoughts – but we do have executive control about how long we extend our contact with these thoughts. For example, I might make a mistake at work. I might have an unavoidably fast intrusive thought like ‘I’m an idiot’. I may then spend the afternoon considering all the other mistakes I made in life, or wondering what my colleagues think, or trying to find evidence that I’m not really an idiot and that I’m just stressed and I’m really a good guy. At the end of the day this extension of my thinking – this ‘rumination’ – leads me further into stress and depression. I get nowehere with it.

          Instead, I need to note it, then refocus. It’s our only armour against our negative minds and it works. Our prefrontal lobes can guide us to nonjudgmental awareness of the world as revealed by our senses, not our internally generated thoughts. In a phrase – ‘think less and observe more’. Try to utilise your full mental capacity noticing your environment, colour, shapes. Notice sounds, be curious. Tune in to radio shows while driving. Listen in detail to the drummer in your favourite band as a track plays…listen and look in detail at life.

          Stay active as this gives your attention frequent anchors…conversations, art, music, books and literature, magazines, sports, outdoors…a full life provides good opportunity to live outside the confines of our minds’ automatic operations.

          This what Zen masters actually mean when they say ‘live in the moment’ – they mean that we gently disregard our mental monologues, live life and pay attention to tangible aspects of living.

          I hope this helps. You may benefit from looking up John Kabat-Zinn online, or any of the westernised Mindfulness literature.

          Good luck Zach!
          RG

          RG wrote on July 7th, 2009
      • Zach: If your job sucks, change as quick as possible. I’ve been unhappy @ work & it’s not worth it. I have taken huge cuts in pay in order to be appreciated & enjoy how I spend my day.

        The fact that you do NOT want to be slave to the pills says a lot about you! Hang In There! We have all been there in one form or another. I recently went through some rough crap & sunk to the lowest I had ever been. But I finally realized that I had some awesome friends/family who stuck by me & held on & just knowing that gave me the strength to pull out of that hole. don’t look back! Look around & look fwd! Look at what you have accomplished so far, hold your head up & Be Proud! It’s hard to retrain your mind, but you have made the 1st & hardest step by recognizing your “faulty thinking”. I have found that it gets progressively easier to correct faulty thinking, soon the new replaces the old. Hey, if you have to, be like Al Franken/Stuart Smalley & repeat “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough & gosh darn it, people like me!”

        Peggy wrote on July 7th, 2009
      • Hi Zach,

        I’m sorry things are so tough. Going along with RG’s comment about Mindfulness books, I highly recommend Cheri Huber (Buddhist author). Her book There Is Nothing Wrong with You has great info about how our conditioned minds cause us to suffer.

        And all therapy doesn’t mean taking pills, so you might check out some good therapists in your area…do some research on a form of therapy called EMDR and see if you think it might be helpful. (It did me a world of good!)

        By the way, you should be very proud of all you are doing for yourself!!

        Take care.

        Catalina wrote on July 7th, 2009
        • Thank you to you all for commenting back! I really appreciate it and I have heeded your advice this past week. It certainly didn’t fix things perfectly as you could imagine however, merely “living in the moment” and taking in everything that is going on around me helped significantly.

          The most noticeable change was my roller coaster of happy-sad emotions seemed to have less dips and valleys. When I was able to maintain a positive state of mind that sensation lasted for a day or two versus the usual three or four mood swings in one day.

          On Wednesday I gave into a homemade cinnamon-roll cake that my Mom had made for my little brother. I justified it by it being my “little brother’s birthday and how can I disappoint?” My cheating the PB isn’t what is remarkable here. What is remarkable is Wednesday would have been a 3 day positive state of mind streak. With the intake of those crappy bread carbs and sugar carbs I immediately felt lethargic and depressed. That experience, combined with these strings of comments has absolutely re-enforced just HOW IMPORTANT NUTRITION IS. That even though I may not be 100% in terms of a positive mental capacity despite my lifestyle change, I shutter to think what my mental state would be today if I hadn’t decided to clean up my lifestyle less then 2 years ago.

          Thank you for communities like MDA and CrossFit. Lives are being changed and I am glad to be a part of it.

          Zach

          zach wrote on July 11th, 2009
  11. My data point of one is: I have many years of experience with negative thinking and have found that taking ~4k iu’s of D3 per day has “magically” made them almost non-existent. So are the happy people cancer free due to being happy or are they both happy and cancer free due to vit d (or other reason)?

    On the other hand, I do believe that our brains tell us lots of “stories” that aren’t necessarily true and it’s helpful to know that if you can change that “story” you can “change your life”.

    llolly wrote on July 1st, 2009
  12. what he said…

    Wyatt wrote on July 1st, 2009
  13. When I find myself getting angry at little things, I am often reminded of that children’s book, “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.” The degree of negativity with which we react to an event is generally dictated by preceding events rather than the event itself. Remembering this helps me remain objective and put things in perspective…or at least attempt to before I completely blow a gasket!

    Shine wrote on July 1st, 2009
  14. Great article Mark, I have done Mindfulness Mediation and this deals with negative thoughts and one of the best tools I learnt was when having a negative thought is to say to myself is this thought relevant right now? That has helped me control negative thinking and actually reduce my stress levels, another thing I learnt of when things get tough go and get a cup of tea, just walk away from the situation and gather my thoughts.

    Oh and another thing I have found has worked really well…the primal diet! No longer fueling negative emotions with carbohydrates.

    Miriam wrote on July 1st, 2009
  15. I was inspired.. just bought Biology of Belief.

    Thanks for the recommendation everyone who mentioned it.

    Ecala wrote on July 1st, 2009
  16. Loved this post mark. Excellent source of information I recently found that simply attracting positive things in my life and picturing my ideal body composition have made primal leaving even more ideal.

    Chris wrote on July 1st, 2009
  17. Interesting, but I’m not convinced by this data so far.

    Although foods and environment and circumstances can affect mood and stress levels, my own experience has been that some people seem predisposed to being more sensitive to things no matter what they do.

    People who are ‘happier’ most of their lives may be different chemically than people who are not and there is only so much they can do to feel better. Also, I have met a lot of content people who are, quite honestly, mildly sociopathic – things don’t bother them because they simply don’t feel as much about them. They don’t care much about ethics because what others think of them matters less than it does to a more sensitive person.

    I agree 100% that certain things can make a person feel better or worse – diet being a huge factor – but it may be that chemically some people are at a disadvantage and their lower level of overall health is reflected in their emotional states and disease, but no matter what they do, they will never be on par with the naturally happy people.

    Cancer stats are often reported badly. I think that the truth lies more in the randomness of it all. I know of many people who overcome adversity yet during the time, or before, they DID NOT think positively at all but later they do and will claim that it was positive thinking that got them through.

    Jayne Landis wrote on July 1st, 2009
  18. You’ve convinced me to try a little experiment.

    I’m going to go for the next month without reading or watching any news to see what effect that has on my moods.

    Grok didnt have pay TV and 24/7 news broadcasts.

    Marcus wrote on July 1st, 2009
  19. “So what does this tell us about positive thinking? Is there any merit to it? Absolutely. Positive thought is essential to health and happiness, but you need to back it up with something substantial.”

    Sounds exactly like “Cognitive Behavioral Therapy”. I recently learned about it in my psych. class. It’s a wildly successful form of therapy.

    thehova wrote on July 1st, 2009
  20. A good way to “stay” positive is to have friends who are positive!

    There is so much power in your life when you just “believe” which comes “from” thinking positive,
    good things just start happening!

    Donna wrote on July 2nd, 2009
  21. “When the unhappy people “thought” that, it amounted to a big lie, because they didn’t believe it. They may very well have actually been “lovable,” but it didn’t matter.”

    Speaking as someone who could accurately apply this to himself…how are is one supposed to change this? Or deal with it in such a way as to still live a productive life?

    Mr B wrote on July 2nd, 2009
  22. All,

    ‘Postive Thinking’? Huh? WTF?

    There is absoluitely NO proof ‘positive thinking’ equals good health.

    I like Mark. I like his website. But when he sways into psuedoscience, or woo, I’m disappointed. Let’s stick to science. ‘Postive thinking’ isn’t sneice. It’s absolute bullshit.

    Yours in paleoness,

    Rich

    Rich wrote on July 2nd, 2009
    • Rich, I suggest you read Molecules of Emotion. Candace Pert discovered the opiate receptor and knows a thing or two about science.

      Also, stress (negative thinking) is proven to provoke the stress response (release of cortisol, adrenaline, etc.) which is also proven to be damaging to your body in excess. Therefore, even if positive thinking does nothing more than prevent stress (and it does do more), then right there we know that positive thinking promotes good health.

      Vin - NaturalBias wrote on July 2nd, 2009
  23. I just recently started living the primal lifestyle, (ok, only about 60-70% so far, but its a HUGE step for me). I immediately noticed changes in almost everything about my life, and after reading this article i know why. Over the past few weeks i have been losing weight and feeling better about myself than i ever have in my life, and that has led to a ton of positive thinking. Seriously i have had an unbelievably great couple weeks at work, and for some reason i have been meeting women that actually seem interested in me. I owe it all not just this lifestyle that makes me look better, but the positive thinking that gives me an incredible boost of confidence that just leads to an even better life and its one of those circles that you never want to hop out of.

    Kremit wrote on July 2nd, 2009
  24. It’s all in the mind as they say…. Honestly I have fund that you cannot force positive thoughts they will naturally come as you continue living life through good and bad whilst getting things done. As well as this a sense of contribution helps, I try to give myself away as much as possible by doing tasks for others and making people happy. This for me has worked to culminate positive thoughts most of the time ;)

    Living the Primal lifestyle gets the brain chemistry right through which helps. Also make sure you get your EPA

    Chris - ZTF wrote on July 2nd, 2009
  25. Jayne: And the ironic thing is, these people you speak of, who often have trouble liking themselves, are often nice people to have around and OTHER people really like them. (Provided they aren’t all Eeyore-like). They don’t think they are nice enough or good enough so they are prone to over-compensating. People like them, whereas he over-confident are too pushy and self-centered. It’s kind of reversed.

    Karin wrote on July 3rd, 2009
  26. I enjoyed this article. I think reframing negative thoughts can be very effective in becoming more healthy positive thinkers. There are always a number of ways to look at things. I fing choosing the thoughts that bring the most positive outcome, a good technique to practice.

    Sheila wrote on July 3rd, 2009
  27. Without any specific to say about positive thinking, this is a classic mixup of correlation vs. causation:

    “While the biggest determinants are largely genetic and environmental (including Vitamin D blood levels) in nature, one study found that of 255 women with breast cancer, most had either suffered adverse life events, like divorce or the death of a loved one, or were likely to characterize their pre-cancer life as “unhappy.” The control group – 367 healthy, cancer-free women – tended to be happier. These results suggest that a person’s state of mind can affect their susceptibility to cancer, but it doesn’t mean thinking happy thoughts can replace treatment. ”

    This does not at all demonstrate that state of mind affects cancer chances. For example, suppose that following the Primal Blueprint decreases cancer chances and increases happiness. Then the correlation could just indicate that the women in the cancer group tended to be less primal (and therefore less happy). In other words, it is a third factor causing both the risk of cancer and the unhappiness.

    Given that many aspects of a healthy lifestyle increase exercise and decrease cancer risks, it seems much more likely to me that these aspects are the cause of both, not that happiness reduces cancer risk.

    Patri Friedman wrote on July 5th, 2009
  28. IMO there’s an interplay between the endocrine system and neurotransmitters which works both ways over the hypothalamic-pituitary axis.

    There’s a lot of evidence that depression (the physical condition, not just feeling a little pissed) negatively affects the immune system, for example.

    There’s less evidence that actual positive thoughts benefit the system over just non-negative thoughts, but it can’t hurt to try.

    I’ve forwarded this to a friend who has leukemia and another cancer concurrently. OK he is taking some very heavy duty meds, and is also doing as much as he can through dietary means to reduce inflammation, control his BG etc. etc. but I’m certain sure that his never say die attitude has literally helped him to live for something like five years longer than he was supposed to.

    Trinkwasser wrote on July 6th, 2009
  29. This is a fascinating topic that I really relate to. Thank you for your in depth and very thorough essay. My wife and I had a discussion on this topic just a couple days ago; it’s great to get citations and references on many of the things that we take for granted.

    Your post actually inspired a lengthy related post on my blog. I referenced and quoted a small portion of this post to credit your input; just thought you’d like to know. :)

    Brian wrote on July 9th, 2009
  30. Well this is an older post so probably no one will ever read this but this article is very true. I am not some new age hippy or even close. I spent 8 years in the Army and fought in Iraq for almost 2 years. To put it lightly my job was about as stressful as any human could have. Never knowing what is behind the door you’re about to kick in, taking someone’s life, etc. We did things none of us wanted to do but had to. I lived with those nightmares and memories for years.

    They became a part of me and it affected everything. I was always pissed, never really slept and was always on edge. My saving grace outside of over training was a girl who later became my wife who convinced me to think positively and regardless of my stubbornness I succeded. I fought tooth and nail with my demons and finally got past them. I would be lying if I said it doesn’t bother me at times but thinking in a positive manner helped me get back to being me.

    Matt Forrester wrote on March 23rd, 2010
  31. Hi Mark,

    I am a chiropractor specialized in functional neurology. Just finished reading your book and I have already posted your info all over the place as I think you are right on the money! Wanted to add Joe Dispenza’s book ‘Evolve your brain’ the science of changing your mind. Have seen him several times at chiropractic seminars and he is really putting people in touch with the quantum field! He describes how you can use positive thinking in a way that can effect your future and I have countless examples of this coming into realisation! Good stuff…

    Jay

    Jay Postma wrote on March 31st, 2011

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