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The jury is in: positivity is good for you and it’s good for your health.

The mental and physical health benefits of positivity are extensive:

  • improves stress management
  • increases life span
  • lower rates of depression
  • lower levels of distress and pain, plus improved rates of recovery from serious injury and illness
  • improved immunity
  • better general well-being
  • enhanced coping skills with greater resilience and adaptability
  • better responses to changes and crisis
  • reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, stroke, respiratory conditions, and infections
  • improved interpersonal relationships

The scientific, medical and mental health communities are not yet completely clear as to why we experience these specific benefits from positivity, but there are a few theories.

Firstly, it’s very possible that because positivity significantly improves your stress management, it naturally enhances your wellbeing because it reduces the impact stress has on your body. It's also thought that positive and optimistic people tend to live healthier lifestyles — they get more physical activity, follow a healthier diet, and don't tend to smoke or drink alcohol in excess.

I believe that positive people tend to have more connections (and more meaningful ones) with other people, and the benefits of human connection are well established and understood. Also, when we’re positive, we’re far more likely to work towards our goals, pursue our dreams and live in line with our core priorities and values. We build a positive self-belief that life is worth it, and all things are possible. This kind of focus on meaning and purpose has its own health benefits and makes a significant contribution to our levels of resilience.

However, it’s not as simple as only understanding the benefits of positivity on our health. We live in a very challenging place and in a very challenging time, and we can never underestimate the impact of stress, trauma, and the daily grind on our levels of positivity. It can be hard work to stay positive, especially all the time!

So how do you maintain positivity, even on the hard days? Look out for our next newsletter which will show you how to do this.

Yours in Positivity,

The Sasfin team

About the Author

Tracy Helps
Clinical Social Worker, Kaelo

Tracy is also a counsellor, interventionist, supervisor and facilitator. She has a special interest in mental health, addiction and trauma and has 25 years’ experience working in South Africa, the USA and London.