Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Power of Positive Thinking


By: Mark Sisson

Are you realizing the full potential of your mind?

Now, before you recoil in horror from the New Agey guru-lingo that question probably sounded like, bear with me a minute. I was recently thumbing through one of my favorite books, Dr. Bruce Lipton’s The Biology of Belief, and it got me considering the possibility that creative visualization and positive thinking can both play enormous roles in the context of the Primal Blueprint. Lipton’s book discusses the emerging science of gene expression (sound familiar?), including the very PB-friendly notion that our environment – our diet, our stress level, even our state of mind – controls our DNA, rather than the other way around. If that’s the case (and the science seems to be agreeing that it is), our thoughts, actions, and moods might play an even bigger role in our health and general wellness than previously thought.

We’ve all heard anecdotal accounts of and seen movies about people beating terrible diseases with the power of positive thought. Little kids in baseball caps and terminal wards who get better when their hero hits a couple home runs for them at the big game. Cancer cases where the chemotherapy and radiation treatment don’t seem to work, but the reintroduction of a former lost love does. Even Lance Armstrong attributes a ton of his success – and part of his survival – to positive thinking and optimism. And I don’t think anyone would deny that being generally glum, surly, and unconfident about life will generally result in unfavorable outcomes – but does that mean the opposite is necessarily true?

There’s definitely evidence that positive thinking can be protective. Take breast cancer, for example. While the biggest determinants are largely genetic and environmental (including Vitamin D blood levels) in nature, one study found that of 255 women with breast cancer, most had either suffered adverse life events, like divorce or the death of a loved one, or were likely to characterize their pre-cancer life as “unhappy.” The control group – 367 healthy, cancer-free women – tended to be happier. These results suggest that a person’s state of mind can affect their susceptibility to cancer, but it doesn’t mean thinking happy thoughts can replace treatment. In fact, an Australian study found that a patient’s mental well being had no effect on breast cancer survival or recurrence. It may be that thinking positively can help stave off the depression that often accompanies an illness, and it can even reduce the chance of developing breast cancer, but it’s not a magic cure-all, and it won’t miraculously destroy cancer cells.

READ ON....click on the title link.

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