The Key to Success and Good Health


Positive thinking is contagious and can produce encouraging results for society at large and in your personal life. The negativity and fears

Positive thinking is the key to success and good health and is symbolized in this picture by a hand holding a key to sky with sunshine gleaming off the key.

The Key to Success and Good Health

brought on by ominous news events often get transformed into favorable and optimistic behaviors. This occurs in widespread fashion. Even the too-often negative movies from Hollywood take a positive turn with such inspiring films as “The King’s Speech,” “The Grace Card” and last year’s “The Blind Side,” a best picture nominee that won an Oscar for Sandra Bullock as a strong and determined mom.


It’s no wonder. Positive thinking not only boosts healthy attitudes and outlooks, but it also results in people’s physical improvements. Just as negativity places obstacles in a person’s ability to overcome adversity, thinking positively generates optimism to affect mental health and well-being.

A positive thinker deals better with everyday stresses in life and copes productively with hardships. The Mayo Clinic recommends putting a positive spin anytime negative thoughts arise. Instead of thinking things are going to get worse, switch your thinking to ways of accomplishing tasks and having faith in those around you. This optimistic view changes your behavior and the reactions of people you know to help improve situations. It even plays a part in spreading good thoughts to trigger a chain of hope and cheer.

Some experts theorize positive thinking can ward off serious diseases and even the common cold by boosting the immune system. Though not yet proven, some studies provide evidence. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin analyzed the antibodies of subjects given flu shots during a 2003 study. The volunteers were given tasks that caused negative emotional reactions. Researchers found increased activity in the region of the brain that weakened the subjects’ immune response to the vaccine.

Pictured is a reverse black and white sign reminding you that you can do only what you think you can do.

You Are Able to Do Exactly What You Think You Can

Other studies have found people with optimistic views have better functioning immune cells than those with negative views.

People who suffer from anxiety or depression improve with the help of therapy that focuses on positive thinking. Psychotherapy teaches patients to turn their negative thoughts, which often spark depressive moods and anxiety disorders, into more positive thinking patterns. They learn to understand what causes their negative feelings and how positive emotions bring about better views on situations and improved behavior.

Got the Blues?  You Are What You Eat

Food has the amazing ability to enhance your moods. Certain foods can excite you to help with motivation. Others can provide relaxation when you need it. That’s because many foods contain substances that break down during the digestive process to affect neurotransmitters, the chemicals in

Cold water, salmon is good for your heart and good for your mood.

Salmon for a Good Mood and Heart

the brain’s network that regulate moods. As a result, your emotions and behaviors can change.

A lack of certain nutrients may cause blue moods or even depression. Researchers, for example, have found deficiencies of omega-3 fatty acids in some people with depression and mood swings, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. If you’re feeling down, you might try cold-water fish, such as tuna, salmon, mackerel, sardines or herring, which contain rich amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Walnuts and flaxseeds also have omega-3s.

Deficiencies in folic acid, a B complex vitamin, may lead to depression. A lack of folic acid lowers serotonin levels in the brain and may cause sad feelings. Eating green vegetables and fruit, which contain folic acid, may improve your moods. Low levels of selenium may result in anxiety, depression or irritability. Selenium, an antioxidant that researchers believe also fights certain cancers, can be found in whole grains, legumes, beef, poultry, fish, Brazil nuts and walnuts.

Foods can also be used to help you through your daily routine. Ever wonder why folks throughout the generations have started their morning with meat and eggs for breakfast? It’s because dairy products and meat, along with fish and poultry, are rich in protein. High-protein foods help boost energy, but protein also breaks down into amino acids to improve mental alertness. Tyrosine, an amino acid from protein, travels from the bloodstream to the brain where it helps increase levels of neurotransmitters, including dopamine and epinephrine, which lift moods to improve your

Roast turkey is an excellent source of the relaxant, tryptophan.

Turkey - A Great Midnight Snack


Carbohydrate-rich foods, such as whole grain bread and pasta, potatoes, rice and corn, work best for moods during an evening meal or when you want to relax. Carbohydrates help release more tryptophan, an amino acid, into the brain where it converts into serotonin. An increase in serotonin levels provides you with calming effects and even improves your sleeping patterns.   If  you don’t eat carbs, you can get even more relaxing tryptophan from turkey meat.  See another Jerry Shaw article on controlling your moods naturally, this one through exercise.