We all know that the power of positive thinking can alter our immediate mood and have a direct impact on our day-to-day routines; but did you know that optimism could influence our overall health? Research indicates that maintaining an upbeat attitude can yield a wide range of long-term wellness benefits, bringing the age-old “glass half full” debate to a whole new level.
According to the Mayo Clinic, remaining positive, even in the midst of adversity, offers several significant advantages, including:
Better Stress Management
It’s no secret that unmanaged stress can wreak havoc on our physical, emotional, and mental health. Over time, chronic stress can evolve into periods of distress and depression, significantly impacting our physiological and cognitive capabilities. Rather than focusing on a problem, positive people often choose to target potential solutions, helping to minimize and manage their stress levels.
Improved Immune Systems
Maintaining a cheery disposition can also help boost your overall immune system’s ability to ward off sicknesses. A scientific study demonstrated that people who displayed a happy emotional style seemed better able to fight off the common cold, even when willingly exposed to a rhinovirus (yes, really).
Choosing joy can also impact our social lives as well. Happier people tend to be more emotionally available and empathetic to those around them, which can lead to stronger and more sustainable friendships, relationships, and partnerships. Contentment can also make things easier at the office as well, enabling employees to achieve higher levels of autonomy and better connect with co-workers.
Perhaps the biggest (and most surprising) perk of being perky? An increased lifespan. Recent testing conducted on 660 people showed that those who remained optimistic about aging, on average, lived 7.5 years longer than other participants. According to the study, this longevity trend continued even after various other features, such as gender, age, and income were managed.
Shut Out The Negative Thoughts, Stat
Yes, some people are just naturally more optimistic than others – does that mean the rest of us are destined to shorter lives plagued with colds and fewer friends? Not necessarily. While you may not have been born with the ability to discern silver linings in rain clouds, you can condition your mind, over time, to see things in a more affirmative light. Some essential tips to help build more consistent positive thinking include:
Pinpoint Negativity Traps
We all have patterns of negative thoughts based on specific circumstances. Identifying situations where you’re more likely to be grumpy can help you prepare your mind in advance.
Get in a habit throughout the day to periodically assess the types of thoughts you’re having. If you notice that you’re wallowing in pessimism, adjust your attitude.
Find the funny in everyday situations, even when it’s challenging. The simple act of laughing can instantly lighten your mood.
Seek Out Positive People
Finally, remember that positivity is not only powerful – it’s also contagious. Surround yourself with happy people to help influence your thoughts and put yourself in a better frame of mind.
What’s your go-to tip for improving your mood and overall optimism levels? Tell us about it in the comments below!