Live Longer with Positive Thinking

two puzzle pieces labeled "positive" and "thinking"

Pessimism leads to weakness, optimism to power. ~ William James

How Can Thinking Positive Help You Live Longer?

Are you a positive thinker or do you excel at thinking negatively? Did you know that the way you think may affect how long you’ll live? Does this even matter to you? Consider the following research.

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.” (¹)

Good to know! But what if you are an expert pessimist?

What can you do about it?

According to Marion Somers, Ph.D., 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. (¹)

There are also some specific activities you can undertake to boost your brain’s vitality:

  • Yoga. (¹)
  • Meditation.
  • Religious or spiritual activities.

Here’s a simple action guide to help you change your thoughts from negative to positive ones:

Putting positive thinking into practice. (²)

  • Negative Self-talk –

“It’s too complicated.”

  • Positive Thinking –

“I’ll tackle it from a different angle.”

  • Negative Self-talk –

“I don’t have the resources.”

  • Positive Thinking –

“Necessity is the mother of invention.”

  • Negative Self-talk –

“I’ve never done it before.”

  • Positive Thinking –

“It’s an opportunity to learn something new.” (²)

Rome was not built in a day! Don’t expect to become a positive thinker overnight. Being aware of your thoughts is a great place to start. Practice some simple “optimism exercises” such as going for a walk, playing with your pet, or making wonderful memories with your children or grandkids.

Figure out ways to implement positive thinking in your life.

Positive thinking is more than just a tagline. It changes the way we behave. And I firmly believe that when I am positive, it not only makes me better, but it also makes those around me better. — Harvey Mackay

Wishing you a wonderful life!

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*Originally published on October 25, 2018

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