In your quest to become the best possible version of yourself, it’s conceivable that you’ve overlooked one contributing factor. Multiple studies have shown that the power of positive thinking has an equal and opposite truth; chronic negativity can have harmful physical ramifications. Simply put, your thoughts can make you sick.

The Harmful Consequences of Negative Thoughts

Negative thoughts have immediate and potentially lasting results that affect the physical realm. A published study from the University of South Wales reported that negative thoughts actually inhibit the brain’s cognitive ability. You may already have an inkling that negative thoughts can lead to bad moods and depression, but did you know that this has been officially proven in a recent study done at Lancaster University in United Kingdom? Worse, a link between pessimism and heart disease has been uncovered in a 2009 study. Study participants who had a cynical or pessimistic view of the world not only presented with more heart disease; they also tested for shorter longevity than participants with brighter outlooks on life.

How to Reduce Negativity in Your Life

Sometimes, knowing about an issue isn’t enough to make a change. In this case, you need to consciously banish negativity and invite positivity into your life. Here are some actionable ways to do this:

  • Focus on the silver lining. When bad things happen, focus on the new opportunities that open up instead of what you lost.
  • Turn negative talkers off. If you have people in your life who regularly bear bad news, change the subject or outright tell them you’d rather discuss something happier.
  • Seek out positive people. The more you hang with positive folks, the more their way of thinking will rub off on you.
  • Be discriminating with the news. Bad news makes headlines, while the good stuff takes a back seat. Try to read only news that affects your life personally, or news that you can do something about. Filter out inflammatory headlines that are designed to enrage you.

There are enough toxins in the world without allowing your unhappy thoughts to make you sick, too. The evidence is irrefutable that positivity will keep you healthier than negative thinking.