“Mind over matter” may seem a bit cliché when it comes to health and science, but in Erik Norwood’s world, a positive attitude plays an undeniable role in reaching and maintaining optimal health. 

Owner and physical therapist at Renew Physical Therapy in Seattle, Norwood has witnessed numerous success stories, from clients overcoming chronic pain issues to those achieving full range of motion following surgery. And for each of these successes exists a single, underlying factor affecting the patient’s outcome: a positive attitude. 

“The people who achieve the most success in physical therapy and rehab are those who have a positive attitude, who are focused on their goals and who are looking toward the future with a positive mindset,” said Norwood. “They put in the work and they visualize success. Keeping a positive mindset goes a long way toward achieving positive results.” 

This isn’t just Norwood’s opinion. This is science. 

According to several studies in the world of health sciences, a positive attitude can put you on the path toward a longer, healthier and more stress-free life. For example: 

  • A 2012 study published in Psychosomatic Medicine suggests that a positive attitude can reverse health risks in seniors, which leads to a better quality of life. 
  • Another 2012 study, this one by the Duke University Medical Center, linked positive emotions to better heart health. 
  • And according to the Mayo Clinic – and in support of dozens of other studies on the topic of positivity – a positive attitude can be linked to a longer life, a stronger immune system, the reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, less stress, and overall mental and physical well-being. 

These are studies Norwood and his Renew Physical Therapy team have taken to heart, mindfully applying the power of positivity throughout every aspect of their practice, from environment to the personalities of their physical therapists to the way they motivate their patients. Such an emphasis can lead to better outcomes for clients. 

“The power of positivity applies to everything, no matter your goals and obstacles,” Norwood said. “As research has shown, attitude affects how people recover from injury and achieve greater health and longevity.” 

But it goes much further than that, Norwood added. 

“Having a positive attitude helps as you work toward any goal, whether that goal is in physical therapy, in education, advancing your career … all things that make life more satisfying.”