Christmas season is on its way to being yesterday. The Next Big Thing is contemplating our new year. Even my friends who adamantly don't do new year's resolutions (most of them) think about what the resolutions would be If considerations were turned into the promises of the next year. A favorite one, so the internet says, has to do with diet and exercise. I want to think about diet and MS today.
Are dietary changes helpful or not for symptoms and healing of MS?
My own neurologist encourages healthy diet and exercise for combating the effects of
MS. She also cautions that because there are not long-range studies of the effects of
diet, except for diet with vitamin D, which is now common knowledge, that the findings
are limited to anecdotal evidence.
The anecdotal evidence is inspiring, and empowering.
I gravitate toward inspiring and empowering That is what I especially love about this doctor. Interacting with people like this upbeat, empowering neurologist is like a diet of positive encouragement.
Today I want to think about that kind of diet--instead of food, I want to think about the thoughts we feed ourselves with; the thoughts we surround our lives with.
That's the diet I want for this next year. What I am looking at today is what I feed myself; my own self-talk--how and why to be positive with myself.
Here is research on feeding ourselves positive thoughts (http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/7-steps-to-positive-self-talk/). This article points out several things that make sense. For one thing, our actions are inspired by our thoughts. If we can change the way we think, the article says, we can begin to change the actions we take. It goes on to say that it is human nature to seek personal growth, whether financial, emotional, physical or spiritual. What is maybe not so obvious to us is that practicing positive self-talk helps us set on motion the actions that will bring us greater rewards.
Another article tells us how positive self-talk reduces stress (http://examinedexistence.com/the-importance-of-positive-self-talk/). According to the American Heart Association, positive self-talk c an help control stress. As a result, it makes us feel calmer and less anxious.
Buddha once said: "We are what we think." This suggests why it matters that we constantly choose positive ways of thinking and why it helps to have an optimistic attitude.
Here are two studies that offer proof of this idea, that show how our thoughts influence the outcomes in our lives.
One study says that we live longer when we are positive thinkers (https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=1&ContentID=4511). This study finds that regardless of income level or health status, that optimism is associated with a longer life and with better mental and physical health outcomes.
Another study (http://circoutcomes.ahajournals.org/content/early/2013/09/10/CIRCOUTCOMES.113.000158.full.pdf+html), which looked at 607 patients in a hospital in Denmark, found that patients whose moods were overall more positive were 58% more likely to live at least another five years. [Note: These people also exercised more, and the scientists can't say if the longevity is due to one or the other. The important message is the same either way: positive thinking and regular physical activity are important for life.]
Here is another study that provides a reason for us to feed ourselves diets of positive self-talk (amesclear.com/positive-thinking). A psychologist from the University of North Carolina divided people into five groups. Two saw images of positive events, one saw photos of neutral events, and two other groups saw negative events
After the subjects s the images they were asked to give ideas of what they would do if presented with a similar situation. People who had seen positive events were able to come up with more ideas, which suggests that positive thinking broadens our view of possibilities in life. The researcher refers to this as the "broaden and build" theory, because it suggests that positive emotions both broadens our sense of possibilities and opens our minds. This in turn allows us to build new life skills and resources that can provide value in other areas of our lives (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1693418/).
What can we do to bring these positive results into our lives?
Another study by the University of North Carolina psyhologisgt (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3156028/) suggests that three things help. People who meditate, she found, have more resiliency in life. Writing helps--she had a group of students write positive things for three days, and compared them to a control group. After only three days the writers of positive things had fewer visits to the health center. Third: play. She found that it helps to actually write fun activities into our schedules.
This psychologist suggests that positive emotions b oth broaden our view of the possible in our lies and they set us on trajectories of growths which foster success in our lives.
A diet of positivity does that!
In my new year's resolutions I would say that I agree with both sorts of studies. I agree with anecdotal evidence of our our bodies can use food either as good or bad input, that food can be used to increase resiliency and strength....
AND I believe the studies that give supporting evidence that what sorts of thoughts we feed ourselves can serve to give us resiliency and strength.
I read this: 'he couldn't see what was before his eyes because he was limited by the merely possible."
Positivity, the possible we Can see, why not?
New Year's Resolution--a steady diet of positivity.