The first four keys we have covered: exercising regularly, eating right, getting plenty of good quality rest, and posture are what most people instantly think of when you ask them what it takes to be healthy. This last one, while not commonly thought of as necessary for good health, plays no less of role in getting and keeping you healthy.
This last key is attitude!
Who gets sick more: happy-go-lucky people or down-in-the-dumps people?
Your attitude plays a critical role in how your mind works, and it goes further to affect your body and your spirit as well. When you are in a good mood, your brain is physiologically and chemically different than when you are in a bad mood. It actually functions differently based on your attitude and disposition.
Your attitude not only has a large impact on the function of your brain, but it also has a HUGE effect on your immune system function. A negative attitude weakens and suppresses your entire immune system, making you more susceptible to succumbing to illness or disease.
Now if you ask yourself what puts you in a good mood and what puts you in a bad mood, what do you come up with?
Sunshine, flowers, funny jokes and babies get you in a good mood? Rainy days, money problems and grouchy people turn your mood sour?
Believe it or not, YOU get to choose your attitude every single day. You can choose how everything that happens in your life affects you. You may consistently react in a certain way, but that doesn’t mean that you always have to respond that way. You may not be able to control many things, but you can control your thoughts, which in turn, drive your attitude and your outlook on life.
Okay, so maybe your boss is a jerk. Sure, your co-workers or employees are lazy and unable to find their way out of a paper sack. The kids drive you crazy and your spouse is only a tiny bit better (sometimes). The traffic is nuts and the weather too hot, or too cold, or too wet and too dry...
You are free to think that way about everything going on in your life. Or, you can choose a different path.
Your boss is holding your place in the company until you have gained enough experience and ability to replace him/her.
Your co-workers are actually making you look good.
The kids fulfill your need for entertainment (and you have to admit some joy too) and your spouse still enjoys that child-like quality that attracted you to him/her in the first place.
The traffic gives you the time and opportunity to get geared up for your day in the morning and wind down from your day in the evening.
The weather keeps you from getting bored and enables you to make good use of your entire wardrobe (especially those great galoshes!).
See, it isn’t what is going on around you that matters so much, but rather how you respond to what is going on around you.
Correction, it is how you choose to respond to what is going on around you.
Instead of focusing on the negative and getting down about the things that are not going the way you want them to, focus on what is going well in your life: count the blessings that you do have and keep your attention there.
Here is the incredible thing about attitude: when you set your mind to something you instantly become attracted to more and more of it.
Have you ever bought a car and as soon as you jumped in and started to drive it you began to notice others similar to it all over the place? They didn’t magically appear. They were there all the time, it was just that you didn’t notice them, or you weren’t in tune to them. Once you buy one yourself, you become more in tune and they start to show up everywhere you go!
If you focus on and count your blessings more and more, looking to the good in everything you see and experience, you will start to see more and more good around you. Your blessings will multiply and you will become surrounded by them.
If you choose instead to only see the negative in things, then instead you will become surrounded by more and more negativity.
Which would you rather have?
What do you think that negativity does to your health? Does it build you up or knock you down? I think you already know the answer. Instead of building you up, negativity attacks your immune system and weakens your digestive and circulatory systems, leaving you weaker, depressed and feeling miserable.
Simply improving your disposition, or your mood, or your outlook, or whatever you want to call it will have a HUGE impact on your health, your quality of life and the length of your life.
If you have a long way to go to change your attitude, then take it a step at a time. Realize that it is a process, or a journey, and all processes/journeys take time. Make goals to change how you react to various things in your life that occur often, yet you find yourself responding negatively to them. Have someone that knows you well and that cares about you keep you accountable and help you measure your success in this area.
And remember, good attitude is good health!