Surprise Benefit from a Sunny Outlook
Do you remember the book Pollyanna? The heroine is a hopelessly optimistic little orphan girl who changes a whole town with “The Glad Game.”
Pollyanna learned this simple game from her late father, who was penniless but positive. He taught her to find something to be glad about in every situation. The game leads Pollyanna to adapt cheerfully to every situation, believing she can overcome any adversity.
When her father dies, Pollyanna is sent to live with her curmudgeonly aunt in a small, bleak New England town. By the end of the story, Pollyanna’s positive attitude has rubbed off on the whole town. The dour residents transform into happy, well-adjusted people.
The book was wildly popular when it was released 100 years ago. It spawned several sequels and has been made into a movie a number of times.
Nowadays, though, if someone calls you a “Pollyanna,” it’s considered an insult. It means you’re unrealistic… living in a dream world.
But research from the University of Melbourne gives Pollyanna the last laugh. It turns out she was right.
The Australian scientists looked at the lifestyle and personalities of more than 7,000 people. They discovered that people who believe that “fate” or “luck” control our lives were unhealthier.
On the other hand, people who believed they could have a positive effect on their own lives tended to eat better, exercise more… and lead happier, healthier lives.1
In other words, just believing you can do something is often enough to make it happen.
Even better, you can cultivate this same “can do” attitude that leads to better health. Here are a few tips:
First, picture your own success. In one experiment, basketball players simply sat quietly. As they sat, they pictured themselves completing more free throws. Afterwards, their free-throw percentage went up.2 This seems to show you can literally visualize yourself into accomplishing more.
Next, take note of others’ success. In a second basketball experiment, players added watching videos to their quiet visualization. The videos showed successful free-throw attempts. These players improved even more than through visualization alone.3
Self-help guru Tony Robbins calls this “modeling.” By observing others’ success, you can learn how they achieved it, and then apply it in your own life.
Finally, focus on your inner dialog.
Remember when you were a kid and you took a dare? Maybe it was to jump from a tire swing out into the middle of the river. Or ride your bike – no hands – down a steep hill. Just before you got started on the challenge, you probably thought to yourself, “I have got to be crazy!”
That’s your inner dialog.
Everyone has a conversation going on inside their minds. And you can focus this self-talk on the positive. Researchers writing in the Journal of Organizational Behavior believe this can help you become more effective and successful.4
As the Australian researchers discovered, a “can-do” attitude can have a profound effect on your health.
Basically, people seem to get healthier simply because they believe what they do makes a difference.
It’s self-empowerment with a big payoff. Because the healthier lifestyle that seems to result from a can-do attitude could lead to many added years of independence.
Yours in good health,
Best Life Herbals Wellness Team
1 “Economics used to show how a healthy outlook leads to a healthy lifestyle,” University of Melbourne. Sep 14, 2012.
2 Kearns, D.W. and Crossman, J., “Effects of a cognitive intervention package on the free-throw performance of varsity basketball players during practice and competition,” Perceptual and Motor Skills. Dec 1992; 75(3, Pt 2): 1243-1253.
3 Hall, E.G. and Erffmeyer, E.S. “The effect of visuo-motor behavior rehearsal with videotaped modeling on free throw accuracy of intercollegiate female basketball players,” Journal of Sport Psychology. 1983; 5(3): 343-346.
4 Neck, C.P. and Manz, C.C., “Thought self-leadership: The influence of self-talk and mental imagery on performance,” Journal of Organizational Behavior. Dec 1992; 13(7): 681–699