Recently, I have been studying the laws and science of focus, optimism and intention, and I would like to share with you why.
Whenever I serve a new practice member or coaching client, I ask them what they are working toward, what they are aspiring for. This is very precious to me as I have found that one's health potential is directly tied to his or her level of inspiration, joy, optimism and outlook.
A study by Schulz and Scheier et al. (1994) found that the pessimism trends in participants in a three-year study were a significant predictor of early mortality among young patients with recurrent health challenges, including cancer.
Other studies show that pessimists are significantly more likely to have developed new Q-waves on their electrocardiograms as a result of surgery and were significantly more likely to have a clinically significant release of the enzyme, aspartate aminotransferace. Both are markers for Myocardial Infarction, suggesting that pessimists were significantly more likely than optimists to have had an infarct during surgeries.
Optimism significantly enhanced the rate of recovery. Optimists were faster to achieve behavioral milestones such as sitting up in bed and walking, and were rated by staff members as showing a better physical recovery. At six-month follow-up, optimists were more likely to have resumed vigorous physical exercise, returned to work, and resumed normal activities (see Fitzgerald, Tennen, Affleck, & Pransky, 1993). In a five-year follow-up, optimists were more likely to be working and, among those experiencing angina, reported less severe chest pain. A manuscript by Scheier and associates currently under review reports that optimists are less likely to be re-hospitalized for complications arising from the surgery.
Two studies of college students conducted during the last weeks of the academic semester found that optimists reported developing fewer physical symptoms than pessimists over time (Scheier & Carver, 1991; Taylor & Aspinwall, 1990). And a study of optimism in middle-aged and older adults (Robinson-Whelen, Kim, MacCallum, & Kiecolt-Glaser 1997) found that the pessimism scale studied in communication patterns of adults predicted subsequent positive outcomes of doctor's visits and well-checkups.
There have been so many demands over the past few years that many people are not able to enjoy their everyday lives. I say this not from a place of judgment, but rather from a scientific place of documentation as I literally write down people's responses to my health and quality of life related questions.
In tracking peoples' responses, I have found that many gracious and loving people have lost some of the air in their sails. I know that it has been a challenging time over the past few years and I write this article with the loving intention of encouraging anyone who is reading to attempt to reconnect with some aspect of life that brings you joy.
I know that staying inspired and connected to purpose is hard work. But then again, so is conscious parenting, loving and nurturing our spouse, maintaining our exercise and nutritional habits. Anything that is precious takes effort. But effort does not have to be equated with suffering. Participating in wholeness can become something that we look forward to. The benefits are cumulative, the results are sweet.
This week we invite you to play with an idea.
Try connecting to hope. People with goals, pressure, tension and work ethic all jumbled into one. These are future leaders in the making.
Here is the last key: Unless we create a plan as to what we desire, and how we are going to imbue our approach with energy and intention, we will never achieve all that we desire. I have confidence that you can take daily steps and that you are the special type of people who have the desire for growth, health, challenge and change.
• Dr. Jason Kolber is a licensed doctor of chiropractic and a certified life coach. He can be contacted at (480) 704-2787 or www.livinginline.com.