Did you know that being upbeat and positive about life can actually make you live longer? How could you say no to that?
A group of researchers from Harvard conducted a study to determine whether emotional factors, not just lifestyle factors, were related to overall health. They theorized that while lifestyle factors like alcoholism, poor diet, and smoking were obviously contributing factors to shorter life and disease, mental health or psychological well-being was also a major aspect of life expectancy.
Does optimism or developing positive thinking habits help you live longer and live well?
The researchers assessed approximately 70,000 women over the course of the study, which was the first ever to measure the direct relationship between optimism and health risk. Some of the results of the study include:
- Subjects ranking in the top 25 percentile with optimism experienced a 30% lower risk of death with all of the major diseases addressed
- 52% lower risk of death from infection
- 39% lower risk of death from stroke
- 38% lower risk of death from heart and respiratory disease
- 16% lower risk of death from cancer
- Positive outcomes remained steady across groups
In addition to improving life expectancy, an optimistic nature can help to prevent future health problems as well! A number of other studies on this subject have shown a link between a positive mindset and the following benefits:
- Healthy weight maintenance
- Lower inflammation levels
- Increase in antioxidants
- Stronger immune system
- Clearer thinking
Who wouldn’t want to reap these benefits?
Tips for Improving Your Positivity
If positivity is not your thing, is something you struggle with, or simply an area where you wish to keep improving, there are a number of useful tips for creating a healthy, optimistic state-of-mind. Now that you have the motivation to do it, these tips should be even easier to implement in your daily life.
Some means of practicing positivity include:
- Developing emotional intelligence, which means seeking to understand, acknowledge, and express your feelings in a healthy way. In other words, don’t bury your feelings, and don’t overwhelm other people with them either. Learn to use them productively.
- Practice mindfulness, or be consciously “in the moment” as you live. This helps prevent needless worrying and blame placing, whether on yourself or on others.
- Cultivate gratitude by being thankful for the good things and people in your life. Remember to show appreciation and exhibit kindness to others in your actions.
- Express positive affirmations to yourself. These can act as a kind of personal emotional support or encouragement, given to you by you! Some examples include reminding yourself of the benefits of positivity if you’re feeling unmotivated, or expressing kindness to yourself the same way that you would to a friend or family member who needs encouragement.
Be More Positive 30 Day Challenge
With the new year right around the corner, fresh starts are on everyone’s minds. This year, why not try the “Be More Positive 30 Day Challenge,” which offers a list of daily suggestions for turning your mindset around. It’s never too late to begin cultivating a spirit of optimism, it’s been proven to be an absolute necessity for a longer and healthier life, and the new year is a great time to begin. Are you in?
“9 Ways to Become an Optimist” by Angel Chernoff