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It’s All About the Attitude

September 3, 2013

Your attitude has a large impact on your health and fitness, but possibly not in the way that you think.

How does my attitude affect my health?

How does my attitude affect my health?

Let’s begin by talking about stress. I know you have heard before that stress negatively impacts your health. Yet that is not always true. Have you heard of oxytocin?

Oxytocin is a stress hormone. Sometimes referred to as the “love hormone,” oxytocin is important when a woman gives birth or breastfeeds. Recent studies also indicate that this hormone plays a role in social interaction, bonding, and orgasm. So oxytocin is a stress hormone that we are glad we possess, and that we certainly would not want to will away.

Yay, oxytocin!

Yay, oxytocin!

And while some of us do feel stress in a negative way more often than we would like, thinking about how unhealthy the stress we are feeling is actually makes it more unhealthy. If you take barre classes, you know how important the mind-body connection is; stress provides another example of how powerful our minds are. A 2012 study indicates that people who think that stress is bad for them can die prematurely as a result of that belief.

So being stressed about stress... is bad.

So being stressed about stress… is bad.

As the example of oxytocin makes clear, not only is stress not always bad for us – sometimes, it’s actually good for our relationships and health. In addition, the recent study cited earlier makes it clear that worrying about being stressed can only result in further deterioration to your health. While we should not necessarily seek out ways to increase our stress, we also do not want to fear it. Viewing stress as something that is the body’s natural response, arising from a situation that you can handle, is a healthier way to handle the response than simply trying to get rid of it.

For example, some of us need stress to help us with punctuality.

For example, some of us need stress to help us with punctuality.

Just because stress is not as bad for us as we might have previously thought, however, does not mean that you should strive to be positive about absolutely everything. The problem with optimism? When you only look on the bright side, you usually do not ever think about the possible negative effects of your actions. For example, ice cream is awesome, and if you don’t think about the consequences, and eat ice cream for 3 meals each day, there are likely to be negative effects to your teeth and health.

People who are optimists tend to have more unhealthy habits, because they think that they will be okay, in the end. Thus, people who are optimists and only consider positive outcomes are less likely to take care of themselves. And without the preventative medicine of regular healthy diet and exercise, those people are more likely to have health problems later.

Smiling & being happy is great - but limit your cake intake.

Smiling & being happy is great – but limit your cake intake.

So stress is not as bad as we think it is, and being optimistic could negatively impact our health. What do we take away from this? Attitude, like many facets of our life, is all about balance.

How could I resist?

How could I resist?

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