Simple “Mind Trick” Could Help You Avoid a Stroke
There are lots of different ways to say it.
“Whistling in the dark”, “faking it until you feel it”, and “skipping past the graveyard” are just a few examples. But they all really boil down to just one thing, and that’s the power of positive thinking.
The fact is that our minds can play a significant role in our health, yet most of the time that fact is simply overlooked.
I told you last year about what I’ve christened the “Oscar the Grouch effect.” A study had revealed that a negative outlook could literally increase your angina or heart-attack risk by up to 44%.
Now the findings of a new study say we may need to add reducing your stroke risk to the list of things an optimistic outlook can accomplish for your health.
Researchers looked at a subset of 6,044 stroke-free volunteers from the ongoing Health and Retirement study. The volunteers’ optimism levels were measured on a 16-point scale using a standard tool called the Modified Life Orientation Test.
During the two-year follow-up period there were 88 cases of stroke. After taking into account the volunteers age, gender, chronic-illness status, and self-rated health levels, the researchers found that with every one point increase on the optimism scale there was a corresponding drop of 9% in stroke risk over the two-year period.
They even conducted a second analysis to find out if just avoiding being a Gloomy Gus would do the trick. But their data indicated that optimistic thinking offers protection above and beyond what just the absence of negative thinking can offer.
Now if you’re anything like me you may be wondering at this point how they can prove that positive thinking caused the drop in stroke risk. The simple answer is that they can’t. Well, not yet at any rate.
This was an observational study…meaning the researchers didn’t control all the factors involved in the study…so it would be impossible to say that positive thinking absolutely caused the drop in risk. But after they adjusted for all the normal outside factors, the relationship was still sitting there staring the researchers in their faces.
And, well, frankly, since other studies have already turned up similar findings, and since positive thinking never hurt anybody…in fact, quite the contrary…I think these are results we can and should get behind.
So I, for one, plan on trying to leave the grouchy to Oscar and the grumpy to Eeyore. Want to join me?
Related Articles of Interest:
"Dispositional Optimism Protects Older Adults From Stroke: The Health and Retirement Study," Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Assocaition, 2011 Jul 21. [Epub ahead of print]
About the author
An enthusiastic believer in the power of natural healing, Alice has spent virtually her entire 17-year career in the natural-health publishing field helping to spread the word.
She is an advocate of self-education and is passionate about the power of group knowledge sharing, like the kind found right here on HealthierTalk.com. Alice loves to share her views on holistic and natural healing as well as her, sometimes contentious, thoughts on the profit-driven inner workings of traditional medicine.
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