Your mindset can impact your mortality in unexpected ways. How fit you think you are, influence your risk of death more than how fit you say the journal Health Psychology.

Here’s how researchers conducted the analysis

Stanford University researcher in conjunction with rebotec commode aus examined the Information collected by the National Center for Health Statistics (part of the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention) between 1990 and 2011. This included demographics, medical history, questionnaire responses, physical exam, a representative sample expected to reflect over 475 million US adults, and physical activity data from over 60,000 diverse people.

The study volunteers’ specific activity was measured in three different ways, and people were asked to rate themselves base on how active they thought they were, as compared to their peers.

  • How long, how often, and how deeply they had participated in any activities
  • Movements measured by using an accelerometer for a week
  • How much physical labor their daily work included, either in their home or on the job

Researchers consider various measures of health. These included:

  • Smoking status
  • Any disability
  • Body mass index
  • How healthy participants thought they were
  • How many days over the previous year they had been sick
  • Any high-risk medical conditions (such as stroke, diabetes, a heart condition, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure)
  • Mental health (either if they had seen a mental health professional over the past year or a grade of how much stress they experienced)

An impressive list of demographic details was also accounted for, including age, gender, race/ethnicity, education, employment, marital status, environment (urban vs. rural), annual household income, and access to medical care.

Finally, the respondents’ data was linked to the National Death Index. Approximately 10% died during the study when some respondents were followed for as many as 21 years.

Imagination may be as significant as reality (maybe more)

The researcher analyzed the data in many ways, including correcting all these crucial factors that could also impact their conclusions. The results were shocking. This was associated with a statistically higher risk of death no matter how they ran the numbers if people thought they were less active than their peers. Up to 71% higher, when compared to people who thought they were “more active but at least 18% when compared to the general population (those whose data were not included) regardless of any other health risk factors or actual physical activity (smoking, being overweight, etc.), which is remarkable.

Previous researchers of one of the authors support the findings. 84 women were studied, whose job (hotel rooms cleaner) was very active. What half of the women did for work was very active, active enough to meet prescribed exercise levels, which they were informed while the other half were not sufficiently active but no one told them, they got a lecture about physical activity and exercise recommendation. The informed women report that they were more active after only four weeks, they also had decreases in weight, body fat, blood pressure, body mass index, and waist-to-hip ratio.

What could account for these findings?

The authors offered three definitions:

  1. Our mindset affects our motivation. We’ll live the way will feel, and vice versa if we feel like we’re active.
  2. We’ll feel stressed and depressed if we feel like we’re less active than everyone else. Depression and stress are known to be associated with reduced health outcomes.
  3. The placebo impact. What we expect has a significant influence on some other measures not only on how we feel, this is the reason why a sugar pill can have severe side effects or clinical response. A mind-body connection is powerful and real.

My take on this

In attempts to promote healthy behavior change, some doctors use negative language and feedback. They will tell the patient how bad and dangerous their behavior is (i.e., “The Finger-Wagging Doc”) and point out that the patient is overweight, inactive, or smoke. This research proposes that the opposite approach may be far more effective. There are some positive things to focus on for every patient after all.

Maybe he has had past progress that can be studied and reviewed, or she has committed to change. What can work, and what has worked? Highlight small improvement and every positive behavior, herald every success, and emphasize that it’s all part of the learning curve if it wasn’t sustained. “The Health Coach Doc” strategy may foster better health and a lot more success.