The Price of Pessimism

by Lila Battis

Over time, negative thoughts silently eat away at your health. 

Can they be changed?  Positively!fight or flight

Your state of mind affects your health – and when you are always expecting the worst, and think like a pessimist, your fight or flight response may stay turned-on.  Think of it as revving an engine – it’s useful before a race, but if you keep gunning it, you’ll burn out your motor.    That negative thinking long term, can cause damage.   For example, pessimists tend to have higher blood pressure and triglyceride levels than optimists have, and their risk of heart attack, stroke, and early death are higher too, according to University of Pittsburgh research.

Here’s how a pessimistic outlook can affect your organs and wear at your health:

Amygdala – When your brain detects fear or a negative emotion it sends out a signal that turns on your fight-or-flight response system.

Spinal Cord – The stress signals shoot down your spinal cord and through your nervous system, putting your organs in a state of high alert.

Lungs – The smooth muscle that lines your airways dilate to account for your body’s higher demand for oxygen.

Heart – The stress signal from the brain causes your pulse and blood pressure to spike, and inflammatory molecules called cytokines travel through your bloodstream.

Liver – To prep for exertion, your liver responds by breaking glycogen down into glucose (increasing blood sugar) and is needless work if there’s no real danger or threat.

Adrenal Glands – If your pessimistic stress mode continues, adrenaline, cortisol, and other stress hormones kick-in to keep your heart rate unnecessarily elevated.

Kidneys and Gut – The blood vessels that lead to these organs constrict, slowing urine production as well as digestion – which is good only if you need to fight or run.

Optimism, on the other hand, can boost your health.  “Happy and hopeful people are more likely to exercise, eat healthy, and stop smoking,” says Jeffrey Huffman, MD, director of cardiac psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital.  Happiness empowers you to take charge of your health.

By staying positive, you can also tighten the faucet on cortisol, a stress hormone in excess linked to artery calcification and inflammation and heart disease.  So, maybe it’s time you started looking on the bright side of things.  You might just save your life!

Taken from Men’s Health Magazine – January/February 2014 by Lila Battis

Posted by:  Dorothy Ruggiero, LMT, CHC
SeaStones Natural Therapies & Health Coaching

Note:  Attitude is part of the LEAN Health program developed by Dr. William Sears.  LEAN is the acronym for Lifestyle, Exercise, Attitude, Nutrition – the four pillars for health.  This article points out how negative thoughts and emotions can keep your physical body in the fight-or-flight mode and feeling stressed.  When this negative state becomes chronic, pain and inflammation can increase.  Receiving massage therapy on a regular basis can help you to retrain your physical body and mind to relax.  There are many ways to break the negative thought patterns that make you feel anxious.  Follow our Blog, we’ll post more LEAN Health tips for a positive healthy lifestyle.

My mission is to enhance your well-being and help you take control of your health.  Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles!








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