Researchers have begun to investigate the link between the mind and health. A positive outlook doesn’t mean a permanent smile on the face, but remaining optimistic about things to come.
So, is your glass half-full or half-empty? How you answer the age-old question may impact your health. Will it be positive or negative?
Remaining positive may help during flu season. It may also help to avoid getting aggravated and stressed out if a co-worker or child comes down with something. You have a better chance of not catching it.
Reduce cardiovascular disease
Heart disease is the No. 1 killer in America. A positive attitude can be an effective weapon against it. Optimists are less likely than pessimists to develop coronary heart disease according to one study. Another study found that optimism lowered rates of heart failure by 73% versus pessimism.
The positive outlook may cause people to adopt healthier lifestyles. Things like a healthier diet, exercising more, and managing stress may account for the huge difference. But these numbers are hard to ignore.
Better coping during hardships
A positive attitude isn’t a cure-all, but it can be an important tool for problems we all face. Optimism during stressful times is easier on your body and your mind.
This is especially true for teens. A new study on teenagers found that optimism is protective against depression, substance abuse, and antisocial behavior.
Slower aging and longer life
Mobility and function naturally decline as we age. A Canadian study found that adults over 6o with a positive outlook were 80% less likely to develop mobility issues when compared to pessimists over 60.
Optimism is also associated with a longer life. A study found that pessimists were 55% more likely to die during the nine-year follow-up period. People who are optimistic are more committed to their goals, are more successful in achieving their goals, are more satisfied with their lives, and have better mental and physical health when compared to more pessimistic people.
Practice a positive attitude every day
If you tend to have a negative outlook, don’t expect to become an optimist overnight. If you’re interested, make sure to talk with your therapist or trusted health care provider but here’s a general list you can start with.
- Identify areas to change
- Check yourself
- Be open to humor
- Follow a healthy lifestyle
- Surround yourself with positive people
- Practice positive self-talk
When your attitude’s positive, you’re better able to handle stress constructively. That ability may be responsible for the health benefits we see from optimism.