How the Power of Positive Thinking Affects Your Health

K almost never gets sick. And when she does, you can hardly tell. That’s because she doesn’t complain. She insists she’ll be in fine shape “after a good night’s sleep.”

I, in contrast, assume that every sniffle is an indication of a terrible disease with a dark outcome.

Needless to say, I get sick more often than K and suffer much more than she does. One reason for this difference might well be her immune system. But an equally important factor, I’ve always suspected, is her optimistic attitude.

According to a report recently published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, I’m probably right. A patient’s outlook really can have a measurable effect on their rate of recovery.

Researchers reviewed 16 studies done over a 30-year period. “In each case, the better a patient’s expectations about how they would do after surgery or some health procedure, the better they did,” wrote the author of the report, Dr. Donald Cole.

There seems to be some sort of cause-and-effect relationship at work here.

I’ve been told that you can accelerate healing by imagining the affected parts getting better. The better you are at visualizing, the stronger the effect. So the next time you come down with a cold or flu, imagine your lungs and sinuses clearing. Imagine the inflammation ebbing. Imagine yourself feeling better. It can’t hurt, right? (I might even try this myself.)

[Ed. Note: Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]