Recently, several important medical studies have come to light proving that your outlook literally changes the function of your brain.
Specifically, medical research shows that:
cynicism increases dementia
neuroticism increases Alzheimers.
This is really surreal for me, because as some of my longer term readers might remember, almost 4 YEARS AGO I blogged about an intuitive dream I had, one where I understood how thinking and brain structure are connected…
…I even ended that blog post asking:
“Do you think in the future we will have studies that back up our thoughts being able to effect lasting structural change on our brain chemistry?”
And now, in the past few months… two such studies have emerged!
Here is what these studies showed:
1. Published in Neurology on May 28, 2014:
Cynicism found to increase dementia.
- Looking at over 1800 patients over a span of greater than 10 years, researchers found that a high level of cynical distrust — for example, believing that no one cares about you or that it’s safer not to trust anybody — is associated with a higher risk for dementia.
- 1800 patients without dementia rated their own levels of distrust and cynicism, and were then followed for a decade.
- Ten years later, the risk of dementia was 3 X HIGHER for folks who rated themselves as cynical at the onset of the study.
- Those with the highest level of cynical distrust also had a 40% higher risk of death than those with the lowest reported levels of cynical distrust.
2. Published in Neurology on Oct 1, 2014:
Neuroticism found to increase future development of Alzheimers disease.
- Being easily worried, anxious and stressed in midlife was found to be associated with an increased incidence of late-life Alzheimer’s disease.
- 800 women were followed for almost 40 YEARS (average age at study outset was 46 years old) and assessed on a scale of neuroticism based on emotional reactivity, anxiety, and psychosomatic concerns.
- Researchers found almost 20% of the women were diagnosed with dementia (based on neuropsychiatric evaluations, interviews, medical records) in the subsequent 40 years (average age of dementia onset was 78 years old.)
- And you guessed it — higher degrees of neuroticism were associated with increased Alzheimers diagnosis… the risk of Alzheimers Dementia being DOUBLED for those in the highest neurotic categories when compared to the lowest scorers.
Why is this important?
Because although medical research tends to focus on the negative (for example, studying how certain negative moods and behaviors increase the risk of dementia…)
…the bottom line is this:
You can do something right now about your outlook.
You can address any negative, habitual thinking patterns in order to reduce your dementia risk.
You can retrain your patterns of relating to the world in more productive ways right now…
…to not only improve your joy in the present moment…
…but to PROTECT YOUR FUTURE BRAIN FUNCTION!!!
This is huge!
This means, if you are depressed, or anxious or cynical or neurotic, you taking action now to help get support and treatment for these conditions can have a real impact on your future dementia risk.
If you have a family history of early onset dementia, one positive thing you can do right now to reduce your own personal risk is to address any mood disorders or predispositions to anxiety/neurosis in the present moment.
If you feel I can help you with that… I’m here. Ready and waiting to connect.
I truly believe that the years of work I have put into mindset BEFORE having an unexpected personal challenge arise really helped enable me to navigate difficult situations.
I was constantly grateful throughout last year’s transition that I had done my utmost to ditch my natural tendency towards anxiety and worry and had already re-trained my brain to reach sincerely for love and gratitude as my baseline thinking BEFORE the proverbial shit hit the fan.
In some ways, these studies prove this to be the case — mind-frame has the power to cause cognitive decline OR has the power to create sustainable function IF you take action to address mind-frame issues BEFORE difficulties arise.
That was my personal experience and it absolutely can be yours too.
What else can you do to prevent cognitive decline/dementia?
Here are previous blog posts I’ve written using scientific literature to give you a host of options.
Pop over and read these posts to find out more on how each of these holistic healing modalities have been proven to decrease your risk of dementia: