Wanna know a secret? Turns out, one of the best tools for great health and stress reduction doesn’t require you to do anything at all other than a conscious choice.
- A positive attitude is a keystone to eliminating stress
- A positive attitude results in better health, jobs, relationships, satisfaction with life and dozens of other benefits
- Gratitude is the first step to a positive attitude
What is absolutely imperative is that you approach your health goals with a positive attitude which includes a big dose of gratitude. First, the gratitude before we get to the overall positive attitude:
The Why: Stress is associated with or precipitates migraine attacks over 80% of the time and with tension headaches and tension related orofacial pain almost 100% of the time. Simply, dealing with stress is a very important goal and the simple act of gratitude makes it easier to deal with stress which may affect the frequency, severity, and duration of a migraine attack, headaches, and facial pain or just the periods of feeling stressed that are all so common.
“Research has shown that grateful people experience higher levels of positive emotions such as joy, love, enthusiasm, happiness, and optimism…” and, extremely important to improving environments that may contribute to migraines, “a person who experiences gratitude is able to cope more effectively with everyday stress…”
Science has shown that gratitude is a key to happiness and happiness makes good things happen and promotes positive outcomes including higher incomes, better relationships and marriages, better physical health and energy, a bolstered immunes system, and even longer life.
While most people feel that they are happy because of “happenings” or successes in our lives, science has shown that happiness actually precedes those outcomes and actually promotes the positive outcomes, and essentially happiness makes good things happen.
As to positive attitude in general, Martin Seligman, Ph.D., considered the “Father of Positive Psychology,” makes the point that optimism as a positive attitude has a positive biological effect on our bodies as in more optimistic people there is less cardiovascular disease, fewer common colds, and infectious diseases, better cancer outcomes, and they live longer. They are happier, more productive, have more life satisfaction, and on and on.
So, how do you implement positive attitude and gratitude into your life easily and in a time-efficient manner without spending any money? Simple. Here are some tips to help you keep your chin up and your smile bright:
- When someone asks how you are, simply answer in a positive upbeat mode. Instead of responding, “Okay” or even “Good,” go ahead just blurt out, “Fantastic.” Our actions influence our thoughts and feelings and our behavior actually changes our attitudes. Repeat: Our behavior changes our attitudes.
At first, it may be a bit delusional to respond that positively, especially when stresses keep piling up and the specter of a migraine or other attack looms. However, since there is no downside to this delusion, embrace it. Get into the simple habit of responding “Fantastic” or “Wonderful” and you will migrate towards a positive attitude and all of the positive benefits it has, including reducing the stress that is probably contributing to your anxiety, migraine, tension headache or stress-related facial pain.
- Practice Gratitude. We’ve turned gratitude and thanksgiving into a national holiday, but gratitude is something we should practice more than once a year. “The quality of being thankful, or readiness to show appreciation for and to return the kindness,” is a trait that should penetrate every single day. Research shows that an attitude of gratitude will improve our psychological, physical, and social health.
One proven, fail-safe method: Record the 3-4 things you are grateful for in a notebook prior to turning out the lights. Make this a habit, and even flip back through your lists when feeling anxious or stressed. This works!! AND studies show you will sleep better too!!
- Get the notebook
- Get a pencil
- Put both by your bed
- Record every evening before lights out.
- Another method: Always say “Thank You,” at any opportunity you may have whether it be to the grocery store clerk, to a waiter, to your spouse, to your peers, and to your boss. Again, make it a habit and you’ll make it a fabric of your being.
Bottom line: You have a choice in life. You can choose to feel good about it or feel bad about it. Feeling good about life is a choice. Make that choice. Remember, if your choice is to have a positive attitude, most everything else will fall into place.
Gratitude and Positive Emotions in Trying Times. When things are going splendid in your life, gratitude and a positive attitude can seem effortless. It is a much greater challenge to be grateful when things may not be going so well or do not go in the direction we want them to go. These give rise to anger and resentment, and the classic “Why me?” which does not help things.
You likely have trying times. An underlying positive outlook will offer some protection, so it is important to practice optimism and gratefulness during non-trying times and have it readily available in your own personal Toolkit. It will pay off in spades!
Gratitude and optimism provide a potent resiliency factor that allows one to bounce back after adversity making dealing with life’s challenges a lot simpler and easier. Arm yourself with this resiliency tool.
In a 2003 study, “Counting blessings versus burdens: an experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life,” college students were asked to keep a journal. Half were prompted to catalog what they were grateful for, while the other documented irritations and annoyances. Not surprisingly, the grateful group exhibited far higher markers of personal well-being, in both physical and social arenas. Gratitude has been shown to lead to an improved quality of life, countering the effects of stress and depression. Other studies have confirmed these findings.
Gratitude and Positive Attitude diminish the effects of stress:
Scientifically proven: Yes!
Easy to accomplish: Yes!
Time-efficient to accomplish: Yes!
Will you choose to do it? Yes__ No __
This is a no brainer to feeling better now, tomorrow, and forever. Envision yourself giving gratitude and responding positively. Think of the reasons that may prevent you from giving gratitude and responding in an upbeat manner. Are there any? Address them and jump right into Gratitude and Positive Attitude.