Here’s why it's important to your health.
As a general rule, “optimists live seven and a half years longer than pessimists” according to scientist and author David Hamilton, PhD.
So apart from living longer, which should be incentive enough to continue reading, no? What other health benefits can be derived from optimism?
Studies and research show that optimists tend to have better cholesterol, lower blood pressure and a tendency to handle stress more easily than those who aren’t. Plus, positive thinkers have stronger immunity to disease and have a lower risk of strokes. (Think about it. Dis-ease.)
Barbara Ehrenreich author of Bright Sided: How Positive Thinking is Undermining America advises caution, “I never think delusion is OK.” She believes rampant optimism in the face of real adversity can have a negative effect. She came to this conclusion in her own life: As a breast cancer survivor, she became disillusioned with those who failed to grasp the reality of her situation, including fear, pain, and the unknown. People bombarded her with constant reinforcement, but it was not what she wanted or needed to hear at the time.
Her point is taken. But experts such as Dani Dipirro, author of Stay Positive: Daily Reminders from Positively Present, believes we are able to train our mind to look at life in a more favorable light. So here are some simple steps that may allow you to become a more optimistic individual, in a balanced, conventional way.
•Try to be positive in general. You are in control of your attitude, so whenever possible view tribulations as cautionary tales. Make the best out of a bad situation, being sensitive to instances such as Ehrenreich’s when you’ll want to follow the lead of the person in pain or under stress.
•Negativity attracts negativity. Make a conscious decision to remove life-limiting elements from your surroundings such as people who bum you out or outside influences like drugs, alcohol, and over-eating,
•Believe in yourself and remember the most important lesson of all: A positive outlook towards yourself and others is a choice. And you have to make that choice for this to work. This will take repetition, will power and determination. But you have to stick with it.
•Practice. It’s like going to gym: Go once a week and you’ll struggle to see a difference. Go regularly, and you’ll begin to notice a change. Try it. Your body, and equally as important, your mind, may be thrilled with the results.