Cynicism may lead to higher rates of DementiaWhats one of the best things you can do for your health? Although exercising, maintaining a healthy body weight and eating right are all good answers, doctors have added positive thinking to the list. According to new research, medical professionals are starting to agree a high degree of anger, hostility, and cynicism is not good for your health.
In a new study in the latest edition of Neurology, the journal of the American Academy of Neurology, researchers found that not only are people who are cynical more likely to die earlier and suffer from other debilitating health conditions, they are also more likely to develop dementia.
What is cynicism?
Cynicism is considered a deep mistrust of other people and can often lead to what psychologists consider chronic anger. In the study, doctors tested 1,449 people with an average age of 71. In the study people who had a habit of doubting the truth of what other people said and believing most people are motivated by self-interest were at a 2.54 times greater risk of developing dementia than those with the lowest cynicism rating.
Researchers admitted that those labeled highly cynical did have higher rates of dementia, but they were not able to prove a link between cynicism and an earlier death. They also did not prove a causal relationship between a bad attitude and a higher likelihood of disease.
Although according to one assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Hilary Tindle, he does believe that "over time, people with highly cynical hostility do worse health wise."
So why is cynicism so bad?
Doctors are not exactly clear on what makes cynicism so unhealthy, but many will claim that after talking to a number of patients they are sure that psychological attitudes can lead people down a road to poor health. Doctors will also suggest that a poor attitude, rather than causing deadly diseases, may foster actions that are unhealthy.
For instance, angry, cynical people may be more likely to smoke, not exercise and weigh more. They also may be more likely to ignore a doctors advice because they are naturally distrustful of others. These actions can lead to a variety of other health conditions such as coronary heart disease, more cancer related deaths, higher stress, higher blood pressure, increased chronic inflammation, and a decrease in the health of an individuals immune system.
Can I become a more positive person?
Although some people have a more natural tendency to be cynical, it does not have to be a permanent state of mind. Unfortunately, some people will have to work harder to stay positive and happy. Changing unhealthy attitudes is like making other changes. It will take time, you will have to work at it every day, and it will not be easy. But the good news is that if you do make up your mind to be a more positive person, its likely not only to improve your relationships, but also your health.