We have all been around them before – those that can’t stop talking about the ills of the world, of their own life and the lives around them. According to these negative minded people, the world is coming to an end and the quality of life is unavoidably deteriorating.
We shouldn’t blame these people for their mindset. Turn on the evening news and you too may soon get sucked into the same view of the world. The truth is, Earth, and its inhabitants, have always had struggles. What isn’t highlighted are the amazing, heroic, wonderful things human beings do for one another.
This introduction brings me around the subject of negative emotions, and more so negative people, and their impact on our health. Not only can negative emotions from other people affect our bodily health, if we let them, but they can also affect our mental, emotional and spiritual health. We don’t necessarily have to avoid these people, especially if they are our own family members; however, we can find ways to react to these people in a positive manner.
How Negative People Impact Your Health
Too much research exists to show that negative thoughts, emotions and words have a horrible affect on the immune system. When these things are experienced, our resistance to certain illnesses and diseases decrease rapidly. Anger, stress and sadness are natural emotional states, but we should never get stuck in them. Nothing improves, nothing changes when we remain in an isolated and damaging state of being.
One study followed almost 7,000 adults throughout the span of 40 years. The ones who scored as the most optimistic in their youth, based on a standard personality test, had a lower risk of dying during that 40 year period. The pessimistic persons were 42% more likely to die in the period.
When we surround ourselves with pessimistic people, the ones who always talk about problems but never do anything about them, we let these thoughts enter our own subconscious mind. Whatever enters can affect the way we believe about things in our life, and pretty soon we act upon these beliefs.
This sort of “rubbing off” of pessimistic attitudes is very real, but we don’t have to get stuck in this mindset. When we do, we can become depressed, which leads to a lack of motivation. A lack of motivation to do anything, including taking care of yourself, is one of the most drastic things you can do to decrease the quality and length of life.
How to Listen, But Not Take “In” Negativity
Sometimes, the best thing we can do for others is to listen, even if it means listening to their problems. Just because someone views the world differently than you do, doesn’t mean you have to fall to their level. There are too many wonderful things in the world to believe it’s always dark and miserable. Love exists, don’t fall for the belief that it’s all but gone.
Listen with an open heart and a critical mind; this allows you to be sympathetic and intelligent in your responses on what could in fact make the problem better for the other person. Sometimes this person will not take anything lightly, and can never see the bright side of things. Just accept this person, and know that perhaps one day they will be able to come around.
When being faced with angry and stressed out individuals, speak to them in a calm voice and be kind. Gahndi once said, “Be kind to others, for everyone is fighting a harder battle.” This is true; people aren’t mean “just because”. Anger and cruelty are both born from fear, as when we fear something we defend ourselves, expressing anger. Let it go and move one with your own life.
How Positive Emotions and Thought Influence Health
Positive thinking and emotions help relieve stress, increasing the health of the immune system. Having a more positive outlook on life, as stated above, has been shown to decrease the likelihood of dying from all causes before 65, many of which are related to immune system complications.
Prayer, no matter what religion or spirituality you may follow, offers stress relief as well, and has been shown to increase healthy immune system cells within the body. There is something about giving a problem to a higher power that helps one become more at ease – and when we are in that relaxed state, our minds are able to think of more rational and helpful ways to solve that particular problem.
Positive thoughts may rub off on others, too, if they’re open to it. All we can do is be kind to one another, as I believe firmly that kindness spreads. A smile spreads. By doing these things, you can help contribute to creating a happier, healthier world.
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This is The Healthy Advocate.