Most of us have a friend or family member who has received some devastating news and was afraid to tell his/her family. Eventually they had to, and instead of being scorned or turned away the family and friends rallied around him/her in their support and the patient was able to turn a dire prognosis around.

Isn’t it amazing that something like love and support are able to prolong life where scientists have not been able? Has there been confirmed studies to indicate that positive thinking can improve health?  Could it be that hope, love and faith are so intangible that the human brain processes them as positive neurons and sends off new connections to the brain?

A study published in the medical journal, Neurology, indicates that people who have a negative feeling about their health are more than likely to develop Alzheimer’s or dementia in later life, compared to those who rated their health as good. It seems a negative image instills negative impulses in the brain.

The study consisted of 8,169 people over the age of 65. They were each asked to rate their health and were followed for seven years. At the end of the study, 618 people developed dementia. It was concluded that those who rated their overall health as poor had a 70% higher chance of developing dementia, and those who rated their health as fair had a 34% higher chance. Even more amazing, the researchers found a relationship between people’s own health ratings and dementia to be even stronger for those without memory or cognitive issues to begin with.

What would bring on this phenomenon? There is a possibility that those with perceived health problems. Higher levels of social activities are associated with decreased dementia and an increase in the body’s ability to stave off limiting neurons in the brain.  Those who believe they are too ill, or not “in the mood” for interaction are increasing their chances of accelerating the negative process.

Nature vs. Nurture go hand-in-hand and one does not work without help from the other. Having great genes alone is worth little if intelligence is not nurtured in healthy and stimulating environments. Sometimes people assume that they have great “native” intelligence (“good genes”) and they think that they do not have to work hard at being smart. They may be hurt by their own assumption that nature alone is important in developing their potential. If you were to assume that you have good genes, and you don’t have to worry about social interaction, you would be sadly mistaken.

It would stand to reason, then, that people who are hypochondriacs (obsessed with illnesses) would be in line for accelerated dementia, or their worst fears will be realized because they ‘willed’ them to be so.  The perfect prescription to reverse this trend is to become ‘more social.’ It’s a low cost way to stave off a life-depleting illness, and will definitely get you back into the swing of life.

“On a simple level, a person whose self-image has led to a destructive diet that has caused medical problems may improve the problem and the diet by changing the self-image–which is a way of thinking, an intention, a mental act,” says Gerald Grow, author of “Worldview of Mental Healing”.  He likens these kind of healing processes to the work that psychologists do with their patients in therapy. Grow believes that, under the mantra of mental healing, visualization and self-affirmation increase chances for recovery.

This is Ron White, two-time USA Memory Champion , memory training expert, and memory keynote speaker. I have found in my years as a memory trainer that a positive outlook leads everyone to become  better at their jobs, memorizing, and their life in general.



Sources: – Worried About Dementia, Stroke or Alzheimer’s disease? Forget About It!

Nature vs Nurture:

Bryn Mawr – Mental Healing: Does Positive Thinking Act Upon Brain Neurons To Improve Health?