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Power of positive thinking to improve health and wellness
A growing body of research shows that positive thinking and positive energy not only can reduce stress, but it also improves overall health. Positive thinking can help lower blood pressure, reduce risk for heart disease, maintain a healthier weight, improve blood sugar levels and extend life.
Turns out “Always look on the bright side of life” isn’t just a catchy song but powerful advice for living a longer, healthier life.
According to research by Johns Hopkins Lisa R. Yanek, MPH et al, “Positive well-being was associated with nearly a third reduction in CAD (coronary artery disease) in a high-risk population with family history, a nearly 50% reduction in incident CAD in the highest risk stratum in those with family history, and a 13% reduction in incident CAD in a national probability sample, independent of traditional CAD risk factors.”
It’s not clear exactly how positive thinking improves overall health, but researchers suspect that those who are more positive may have less inflammatory damage from stress.
Another possibility is that positivity helps people make more advantageous life and healthy living choices, while focusing more on long-term goals. This possible conclusion has been the source of Dr. John Demartini’s life’s work as an author, motivational speaker and teacher.
Intentional positive thinking leads to healthier life
Making an intentional choice to be positive is central to positive thinking and even to achieving personal goals, says Demartini. According to a program he’s developed, The Demartini Method, focusing on values is key to more positive thinking and living a healthier life.
“The very order people seek comes from first getting clear on values,” says Demartini. “Priorities and values are inseparable from the energy-healing consciousness that’s involved in bringing order to people’s lives.”
Demartini has dedicated his life’s work to empowering people to leverage their personal values to reach their greatest power and potential.
He says, “When you know what you truly value, what’s most important to you, you have a key in your hands to your greatest empowerment, leadership, abundance and fulfillment. Knowing your values is key to your most authentic, original and empowered life.”
Health benefits of positive thinking
While research on why positive thinking is so good for our health remains murky, it’s clear that a positive attitude has numerous health benefits. Following are just a few of the known benefits or thinking positively:
- Reduced blood pressure
- Reduce risk for heart disease
- Healthier weight
- Greater resistance to illnesses
- Better coping skills
- Lower stress levels
- Improved blood sugar levels
- Reduced risk of death from cancer
- Reduced risk of death from respiratory conditions
- Reduced risk of death from infections
- Longer lifespan
Focusing on values leads to more positive thinking and health
Every human being, regardless of age, gender or culture, says Demartini, lives each moment according to a set of priorities and values. The higher a priority, the more intrinsically easy it is to fulﬁll. Those tasks progressively down the list of priorities or values require a greater degree of extrinsic motivation to complete.
When an individual lives in line with their highest values and priorities, they’re more likely to be more disciplined, reliable and focused, says Demartini. This has the effect of raising a person’s energy level. “Now instead of having entropy and resistance, they have negentropy”
Negentropy is the opposite of chaos. It occurs when things become more in order. “Not only do they have energy, but they have what we could call healing consciousness,” says Demartini. “Every biological organism is striving to go from entropy to negentropy, from disorder to order. And anybody who can exemplify that state magnetizes people to them because we’re biologically driven to be around order.”
Demartini suggests delegating out those tasks that are draining and focusing on the areas of life that are more aligned with a person’s values.
This has practical implications for everyone, says Demartini. “If we don’t ﬁll our day with high priority actions that inspire us and delegate lower priority distractions, we won’t maximize our potential for healing consciousness and energy.”
The result he says is disorder instead of the order.
The science behind energy healing
When people live consciously according to what they value most, says Demartini, it leads to positive thinking. Positive thoughts affect the brain, decreasing cortisol and producing serotonin. This creates a sense of well-being that helps your brain function at peak capacity.
Demartini says that by living by highest priorities, one can automatically reduce distress from the external world and neutralize it. This way, each person can maximize their focused attention on what actually matters.
A person who operates by impulse, will be drawn to objects of infatuation and repelled by something resentful. This, says Demartini, is how the amygdala works. “We avoid the thing we’re resenting and seek the thing we’re infatuated with. And we’re fooled by it.”
Instead, says Demartini, the moment a person focuses on values and priorities, they make choices from a place of objectivity and authenticity.
The medial prefrontal cortex is a center for gratitude, which leads to a balanced homeostasis of the neurotransmitters. “It allows us to say things with grace, and grace and love are two of the most powerful healers on the planet,” says Demartini.
Doing the opposite can have negative effects on the brain and body. “Anytime we judge another individual or compare ourselves to another individual, we automatically lose our authenticity,” says Demartini.
“Our pulvinar nuclei in our thalamus is a gating ﬁltering mechanism that takes and ﬁlters our inﬁnite reality and allows us to extract out of our world the things that help us fulﬁll what’s most valuable.”
In practice this means that when a person lives by their highest values, they’re able to see things in a more balanced perspective. “It helps us in homeostasis. But the second we’re not living in our highest values and we’re exaggerating somebody, minimizing ourselves, injecting their values, trying to imitate them, trying to be like them instead of being ourselves, we just lost our authenticity. Our blood glucose and oxygen goes into our amygdala where we go into survival mode.”
Getting clear on values leads to healthier living
Whether conscious or by rote, Demartini says, “Every decision you make is based on what you believe will give you the greatest advantage over disadvantage at any given moment.”
Demartini recommends the 13 questions that help people get clear on their values. Following are a few of those questions.
- How do you ﬁll your space? Personal physical space is one indication of values. When a person really values something, it’s most likely in close proximity. “If you look at what’s really valuable to you, you’ll ﬁnd it’s all within reach,” says Demartini. Consider the top three most signiﬁcant items that are most consistently in your space. What’s their primary use? Determine what these objects say what you value.
- How do you spend your time? You spend time on what is valuable to you. Identify the top three ways you spend your time.
- What energizes you? Whenever you’re doing something high in your value, your energy goes up. Something low on your values is draining. Any time you hear imperative language – should, ought to, supposed to, got to, have to, must and need to – that’s a sign you’re in a drained state. But something you absolutely love doing, that’s inspiring to you is a signal of what you value.
- How do you spend your money? Look at the top three areas where you spend most of your money.
- Where are you most ordered and organized? The areas where you have the highest degree of order and organization in your life are an indication of what you value most.In what areas are you most disciplined? When do you spontaneously do things that nobody ever has to remind you to do? No external motivation is needed to get you to do it. Again, you’ll see a pattern.
- What do you think about? What you visualize and your internal dialogue is an indication of your values.
- What do you say to people? The topics you bring up in conversations are a good indication of values.
- What inspires you and brings tears to your eyes? Ideas that inspire you and people who inspire you are reﬂections of what you value. “Look at what inspires you and brings tears of gratitude and chills up your spine because that’s a moment of authenticity.”
- What are the most consistent and persistent goals that you’re pursuing? Three areas where you focus your achievement and are most consistently dedicated to completing are an indication of your values.
- What do you spontaneously want to read and learn about? What do you want to inculcate into your consciousness and learn about most in your life?
Demartini has seen countless times where people ask this series of questions and “there’ll be a pattern that will just smack you right in the face.”
Next step, he says, is to structure daily living around that short list of values. “That is healing consciousness at its ﬁnest. That is being present. That’s where energy is inﬁnite once you recognize that source.”
Comparison is antithetical to value-based living
Most people compare themselves to other people. And yet, Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “Envy is ignorance; imitation is suicide.” Comparison is so harmful, says Demartini, because it minimizes one’s own life by injecting another person’s values.
“They have a different life, in their values, but if you try to live in their values, you have futility.”
The people who are willing to walk the path of an “unborrowed vision,” as Ayn Rand describes, are the individuals who do extraordinary things and leave their legacies and marks in the world.
The act of comparison and constantly trying to fit in, says Demartini, can actually lead to depression. “I always called depression a comparison of your current reality to a fantasy you’re addicted to. And that’s what the amygdala does. The amygdala lives in false positives in order to assume something’s there even if it’s not to make sure to get the prey and to avoid the predator.”
Instead of comparison, Demartini recommends identifying others’ admirable traits and actions. Then, consider what it would be like to behave similarly. “The moment you go and reﬂect, quantitatively and qualitatively, you will take them off the pedestal. You’ll put them in your heart. You will no longer get distracted by them and you’ll return back to your highest value, and liberate yourself from the illusion that they have a better life,” says Demartini.
Living by priority frees people from the constraints of infatuation, resentment, and distraction so that they can reach their best possible selves. This authentic approach to life turns out to be healthier for the brain and nervous system.
The amygdala activates the ﬁght or ﬂight response. When that’s activated, it’s harder to heal because the body is in a protective mode. Feelings of resentment and even infatuation can trigger the body to seek or avoid. “So as long as you’re in the amygdala, you’re not using your body’s resources to bring homeostasis,” says Demartini.
To get out of that cycle, Demartini recommends a person focuses on their rational reasoning by focusing on what they have to gain by this infatuation or resentment. This question balances out your perception. “Ask questions that get you back to your executive center.”
Demartini says instead of comparing yourself to others, compare your daily actions to your own highest values. “How congruent you are with that will determine the energy, the healing potential, and the opportunities in your life. You’ll be grateful for your life, and gratitude and love are still the greatest healers on the planet.”
Positive thinking and living by values can lead to longer life
When people live by their highest value and activate the cerebrum, their telomerase increases. Telomerase is the enzyme that lengthens the ends of chromosomes and plays a critical role in aging. The enzyme is able to add DNA back onto telomeres, extending the life-span of a cell. This is why it’s been dubbed the “immortality” enzyme.
Telomere length shortens with age. Eventually, this affects the health and lifespan of an individual. Research shows, “Shorter telomeres have been associated with increased incidence of diseases and poor survival. The rate of telomere shortening can be either increased or decreased by specific lifestyle factors. Better choice of diet and activities has great potential to reduce the rate of telomere shortening or at least prevent excessive telomere attrition, leading to delayed onset of age-associated diseases and increased lifespan.”
This is why thoughts are so important, says Demartini. “Your innermost dominant thought becomes your outermost tangible reality. So if you actually think about what you’re going to do to contribute to the planet on a larger scale, your telomeres will grow to make sure you fulfill that objective.”
At the heart of achievement and wellness is empowerment, says Demartini. “If you don’t empower yourself in business, you’re going to be told what to do. If you don’t empower yourself ﬁnancially, you’ll be told what you’re worth. You don’t empower yourself socially, you’ll have the fear of rejection.”
The contrast is to identify your values and live by them. “If you give yourself permission to live by priority, you will lead the pack, not follow the pack. That’s as simple as that.”
Dr. John Demartini is a professional speaker, author, and business consultant whose clients range from Wall Street financiers, financial planners, and corporate executives to health-care professionals, actors, and sports personalities. Founder of the Concourse of Wisdom School of Philosophy and Healing, Demartini began his career as a doctor of chiropractic and went on to explore more than 200 different disciplines in pursuit of what he calls “Universal Principles of Life and Health.”
I am very excited for this next person we’ve got coming up and even though I’ve heard of him for many years, this is my first time getting a chance to meet him and we’ve just had a great little conversation actually before this interview. But a couple distinctions for Dr. John Demartini, just recently he was named one of the top 100 doctors in the world, which is super cool. Congratulations, John. And then last year, he was named the top human behavior specialist of the year. So you have someone you’re gonna hear from today that is very, very special. In addition to that, he spent 48 years researching the human condition and psychology and behaviors. Recently he wrote a book on values and how it’s so important to be living your values. We’re gonna discuss that coming up. You probably have seen him in some of the movies he’s appeared in, like “The Secret, “The Opus,” and “Oh My God” And he’s written numerous books. I think 40 books, is that right, John, or over 40 books?