Optimism Can Enhance Your Long-Term Health

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A positive attitude and overall emotional wellness can help boost mental fitness at any age.

It’s a well-known fact that being optimistic and focusing on emotional wellness seems to reduce stress. But did you know that a glass-half-full kind of attitude can offer even more tangible health benefits? Research has found, for instance, that an upbeat attitude, or happiness, can help lessen the burden of chronic pain, say from arthritis, or even reduce your chances of developing cardiovascular disease. In fact, some experts now think that staying positive can help you live longer. In an intriguing study done at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, researchers followed a group of people for 30 years. They found that those who were originally classified as “optimistic” on a standard personality test turned out to be 20 percent less likely to suffer an early death than those classified as “pessimistic.”

Opt for a Good Mood, Opt to Live Longer

Happiness plays a pretty important role in keeping your brain healthy and vital, too. Staying positive, say experts, helps fight the “blues.” This is good news in terms of longevity since, among other factors, depression has been shown to increase a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

According to Marion Somers, PhD, a geriatric-care manager in Brooklyn, New York, an optimistic outlook isn’t hard to achieve, and doing a few simple “optimism exercises” can yield a big reward. “Optimism exercises don’t have to be formal,” she says. “You can [improve] your attitude just by taking a brisk walk, petting your dog, or playing with your grandchildren outside.” Anything that lets you release pent-up negativity and experience calm, peaceful thoughts can go a long way toward helping you become — and stay — more positive.

Learning to be positive has numerous benefits – better health, better relationships and a better life. Why not give it a try?


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