Everyone, by now, has heard about how important having a positive outlook in life is. Since the 1980's it has been toted as the thing that can make or break one's mood, relationships, & health while significantly influencing career & every other aspect of life. “Thinking positive” seems to be the answer to many of life's problems, or at least, seems to be the common prescription from those who do not want hear about someone else's problems. But can thinking positive, on it's own, really help in the recovery from illness or injury?
First of all, let me say that no one really knows for sure. Science cannot fully measure just HOW positive a person is, or how much of an improvement that thinking good thoughts can influence recovery. There are always tragic situations where you encounter a person who seems very positive & happy & discover later that their lives are filled with anxiety and debilitating depression. There is, however, anecdotal evidence from days gone by that can give us clues on how to recover from illness & injury with grace & a bit of spunk that will make those much younger smile in encouragement.
- Don't cry over spilled milk. Have you ever heard that common, old-time expression? It is one of the ways that people have dealt with difficult circumstances in life throughout the centuries. It is a form of positive mental attitude to learn to handle things that are beyond our control with grace. So you broke your hip? You have to learn how to sit, stand, walk & carry on with life again? There's nothing you can do to change it, so getting on with physical therapy is the best way to spend your energy at this point. Don't cry over it, clean it up & carry on!
- Older people who have great reputations within their family for life & vitality are often much better at adapting to changes in life. Perhaps a lung condition has you down? Learning to use a nebulizer or inhaler when you're supposed to may seem scary at first, but adapting to the reality of your current situation will help you move forward quickly. Those who are resistant to facing reality, who dig in with both heels & try to remain the same, are often those with major heart or stroke issues. Positive thoughts are not always flowery, many times they are simply clear reflections of current situations & finding the most mature & loving way to handle them.
- Finding the best ways to counteract illness & injury before they occur can also be a form of positive thinking. Working on your posture, breathing, flexibility, etc. can shows your positive outlook on life as you are wanting to have great quality of life for as long as possible.
So perhaps thinking good thoughts IS good for you, but it does not necessarily mean that you have to think of sunshine & butterflies in order to be a positive person. Simply being straightforward, honest, truthful & real will do a world of good as you move into the moonlight stages of life. Spend some time reflecting on older people that you have known & how they've aged. Emulate the qualities that you appreciated in them. It may shorten recovery, but it will definitely improve your life!