Why do we get sick?  

Posted by Plato Greybeard

There are, of course, many reasons for ill health. Poor nutrition, insufficient rest and exercise, infection and genetic predisposition all can play a prominent role. However, since this is a place for philosophical discussion, let's consider the role our mind plays in our level of wellness.

It is been said that "The power of life and death is in the tongue." This powerful metaphor suggests that negative thoughts in the conscious and subconscious mind can easily sabotage us physically and emotionally as they move us inexorably towards self-destruction.

Fortunately, the converse is equally true. Norman Vincent Peale wrote “The Power of Positive Thinking” which has sold millions of copies. Peale’s methods are not without controversy, but the idea of thinking positively and avoiding a negative mindset is worth considering.

Proverbs 17:22 tell us that “a merrie heart doth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” It is generally accepted that laughter is the best medicine because it reduces pain, increases job performance, connects people emotionally, improves the flow of oxygen to the heart and brain, releases endorphins and promotes the production of T-cells that fight infection.

So, as philosophers who agree that positive thoughts are preferable to negative ones (we do agree on that, don’t we?), how can we develop a way of being that promotes a positive, optimistic mind set and life style in ourselves and others? Do we have a responsibility to our families and those around us to project an upbeat and positive attitude? Are we justified in avoiding those who only display gloom and doom?