How Negativity Really Can Affect Your Health

When you're suddenly hit with a bad mood, figuring out how to dig yourself out of it sometimes feels never-ending. The negativity starts off small and then spirals out of nowhere until your day is officially ruined. It's completely normal to have off days, but the longer you remain trapped in your negative thoughts, the harder it is to pull yourself out. 

There's a direct link between your emotions and your health, and how you respond to situations can have a huge impact on your physical and emotional health. When you're stuck in a loop of negative thoughts, you should first, acknowledge how you're feeling, and then approach things from another angle. Prolonged negativity is bad for your heart, and can even affect your immune system, according to Psychology Today. That doesn't even cover the mental costs.

It's impossible to banish your bad moods forever, or eliminate every single negative thought that pops up in your head. But that doesn't bar you from actively trying to shift your mindset and how you process events or problems. Here's how constant negativity can seriously impact your health.

Negativity disrupts your hormones and can shorten your lifespan

Negativity has a high physical and mental cost. According to the University of Minnesota, being stuck in a funk drains the chemicals in your brain that promote happiness. It also messes with your natural hormone balance, making it harder to break out of those negative thoughts. In a vicious cycle, the stress caused from your negative thoughts can derail your body's telomores — the ends of your DNA that correlate to aging — and eventually shorten your lifespan.

A 2009 study published in the journal Circulation found that cynicism increased participants' chances of developing heart disease later in life. Dr. Emiliana Simon-Thomas, who is the science director of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, told Health why having a consistently pessimistic mindset comes with such dire results. "Many negative emotions such as anger, fear, and frustration become problematic when those emotions turn into a more permanent disposition or a habitual outlook on the world," she explained.

It's human to have a bad day and want to avoid a situation you're not ready to deal with. By taking active steps to change your negative thinking patterns, including therapy and practicing tried and true coping strategies, you can successfully break through the fog and live a healthier lifestyle.