In today’s turbulent times, I think we can all agree that one of our greatest personal daily challenges is staying positive, hopeful and optimistic. It is too easy these days to get focused on negative things and to allow those thoughts to produce feelings of fear, anger or dread. When this happens, our quality of life and our quality of health can diminish significantly.
This week, I came across a few articles from Harvard University that showed just how much this can happen. Researchers found that a positive mental outlook (a.k.a “optimism”) compared to a negative mental outlook (a.k.a. “pessimism”) was associated with lower risks of cancer, heart disease, strokes, respiratory illness and infectious disease. It was also associated with longer life and better physical and mental function throughout life.
Here are two articles that explain these findings:
OK, so after reading these articles you’re probably convinced that optimism is a good thing, but how in the world do you adopt it as a more prevalent daily attitude? Easy- go on a diet.
In a food diet, the purpose is to eliminate certain foods and to add in others. This is done for the purpose of changing your body in a way that makes it better than it is now.
For instance, when one of my clients is experiencing inflammation and pain, I will often tell them to eliminate foods that cause inflammation like sugar, wheat, dairy, genetically modified foods and non organic foods. This is done to reduce the overall inflammatory load on their system and will typically lead to them feeling better in just a matter of weeks.
So, what if we applied the same concept to our mental “diet?” What kinds of “inflammatory mental foods” would you eliminate?
Maybe we don’t need to watch or read SO much news everyday. Maybe we don’t need to always talk to those friends who just love to complain about people, policies or predicaments. Maybe we don’t need to verbally or mentally rehearse the “what-if’s” quite so often. I’m willing to bet that reducing these inflammatory mental foods will do the same thing that reducing inflammatory physical foods does- make you feel better.
But, just like with physical food, we can’t just eliminate the bad, we also must feast on the good. Just like eating fresh fruits and veggies, and drinking pure water is good for our body, so are positive people, messages and energy good for our mind and our spirit. If you want a bite of some good mental and spiritual food right now, check out this video. It features the reading of many encouraging promises from the scriptures that are for YOU and for NOW.
Click here- Encouraging Bible Passages Read Aloud
So in closing, I encourage you to take a look at your attitude and see if it is one that is helping you or hurting you. If it’s the latter, consider making some changes to your mental diet. If you do that long enough, those extra “pounds” of anxiety, anger and frustration will start to melt right off.
God bless you and don’t forget- God LOVES you!
P.S- If you are interested, I wrote a little bit about how I keep myself fed on the right mental diet (as well as other things I do to keep myself healthy) in a previous newsletter article, which you can access by clicking here.