If you’ve ever read a profile of a star athlete or a titan of industry, chances are that person talked about the importance of positive thinking. The idea being, by maintaining a positive outlook on life, you’ll be able to handle stressful situationsbetter. For example, if you get cut off in traffic, you may feel the urge to pound on your horn and curse at the offending driver. However, if you focused on the positive rather than the negative, you would realize that not getting into a serious car accident is actually a good thing. While the power of positive thinking has been the cornerstone of social psychology for decades now, a new study suggests that being positive can actually reduce your overall stress level.
The study, which was published in the Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience journal, found a link between the size of a person’s orbitofrontal cortex and their ability to handle stress. The researchers found that people with shrunken orbitofrontal cortexes had a significantly higher risk factor of contracting an anxiety disorder than those with normal-sized OFCs. And, people who tended to have more optimistic outlooks on life had healthier OFCs and were less susceptible to the symptoms of stress. As such, the next time you feel anxious about something, try to look at the bright side of life.
Read the full article here: Feeling anxious? Check your orbitofrontal cortex and cultivate your optimism