Get your Brain Health Score (in 4 mins) Take the quiz
Shop
Reviews
My account
Mental well-being

The benefits of positive thinking

The world needs a little more positivity atm—especially when it's scientifically proven to do you good.

Laura Sugden
Lead Copywriter and Health Coach
October 19, 2020
4 min read
Article breakdown

What are the benefits of positive thinking?

Fill your mind with positive thoughts. Put your positivity out into the universe, and good things will come to you. Manifest what you want. Visualise your best future. The advantages of positive thinking are everywhere—its fans ranging from the evangelical to the sceptical converts, and everyone in between.

But, what’s the science behind it? And are the benefits of positive thinking proven, or hearsay?

Benefits of positive thinking for your brain

So what is the science behind positivity? When you have a positive thought or experience feelings of joy, happiness, or optimism, serotonin is released in the brain. Serotonin is the “happy” hormone that improves your mood, and creates a sense of well-being; your brain’s positive mindset Jedi force if you will. This serotonin release helps to decrease cortisol levels, which, if left unchecked (by dwelling on negative thoughts, for example), can lead to slower brain function, and even the development of depression. So, in this instance, cortisol is your brain’s dark side.

Filling your mind with positive thoughts, and the resulting well-being advantages can help your brain to function at its best, and also support neuroplasticity, particularly in the prefrontal cortex (PFC). The PFC enables you to: 

  • regulate the signals from your brain to other parts of your body

  • reflect on what you’ve been physically doing

  • control your emotional responses

  • focus on what you choose

  • get insight on your thought processes

Essentially, the PFC gives you the ability to decide what you want to do, and how you want to do it. So, by choosing positive thoughts, you’re contributing to the neuroplasticity and flexibility of the prefrontal cortex, which will mean you’re better equipped to choose positive thoughts. (See what we did there? The force is strong with this one.)

Our formula

The Smart Supplement

4.9/5 on Trustpilot
Find out why the Smart Supplement is the highest rated in the world, and how it helps to keep you feeling better, every day.

Health benefits of positive thinking

In this study from the University of Kentucky on a group of law students, those who were more optimistic had stronger immune systems than their more pessimistic counterparts. The positive thinkers were better able to fight off bacteria and viruses.

The advantages of positive thinking can help with more than just fighting off everyday things like the common cold. A circulation study showed that a positive outlook was associated with less plaque build-up in the arteries, and a lower risk of developing coronary heart disease in women. And, in this study on optimism and heart failure, positive thinkers over the age of 50 were less likely to suffer from heart failure.

6 ways to improve your positive thinking

  1. Crack a smile - Smiling can have huge knock-on benefits on the brain, in your body, and out into the world around you.

  2. Have a laugh - Want to relieve stress, give your immune system a boost, and top up your serotonin? Have a good laugh.

  3. Be grateful - As well as encouraging you to think more positively, gratitude journalling can improve well-being throughout your life, increasing your self-esteem and overall life satisfaction.

  4. Go on holiday - Taking a holiday can improve your mental health, and increase your brain plasticity. 

  5. Get playful - Improve your work performance, cognitive well-being, and quality of life with regular time to switch off, and just play

  6. Phone a friend - Having friends around, or at the end of the phone can make scary things less intimidating, and stressful situations easier to manage.

Your free goal-setting guide

Get your guide

Get your free workbook to guide you through every step of the goal-setting process. 

It’ll take you around 2 hours to complete, but we guarantee you’ll come out of it feeling empowered, inspired, and committed to creating a life you absolutely love.

The biggest advantage of positive thinking? It can help you live longer

In this classic study, nuns with the highest amount of positive emotions lived 10 years longer than those with the lowest amount of positive thoughts. For the data, the study took into account their handwritten autobiographies, and found that positive emotional content in their early-life writings (around age 22), was strongly associated with longevity six decades later. 

And, in this 28-year study, longevity was predicted by how happy people felt in their lives overall.

So positive thinking = longer life. Can’t really ask for a bigger endorsement than that.

Related articles
The brain
What is brain health, and why does it matter?
Laura Sugden
7 min read

About Heights

  • Our Mission
  • Our Experts
  • Learn
  • Student discount
  • Refer a friend
  • Careers
  • Braincare Podcast
  • Sustainability

THE SUNDAY SUPPLEMENT

Bring more braincare into your life, every week—tips for everyday life, podcasts, and exclusive community events.

By sharing your email address, you are agreeing to receive email marketing communications from Heights from time to time. We will not share your details with any 3rd parties. Please review our Privacy Policy for more information.

This product is not designed to replace a varied and balanced diet. Do not exceed stated dose. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding or taking any medication, please consult your doctor before use. Do not use it if the sachet has been opened. Store in a cool, dry place. Keep out of reach of children.

My cart
No products in your cart
Subtotal
£0.00
Shipping to United Kingdom
Free
Total
£0.00
Discount codes can be added at checkout