Outlook: Sunny… for a Longer Life

We’re back with our series on how to live to 100… and enjoy it. In our previous article, we introduced you to several centenarians and their secrets to living a happy life in the triple digits.

Now we’re going to dig into what your outlook on life can do for you.

Simply put, there’s a ton of research out there that proves just how important staying positive can be.

Optimistic people have a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke. A “glass half full” mentality is also associated with lower levels of cancer and infection.

There’s even reason to believe that people with a positive mental attitude run less risk of declines in lung capacity and function.

And if you’re fighting off some of the biggest killers of older adults, it should come as no surprise that a sunny disposition has been shown to be an effective partner in your treatment.

A new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences concluded that optimism is associated with a longer life span and exceptional longevity… with a much greater chance of living past 85.

With all of these benefits, it’s hard to resist the appeal of optimism. So here are five tried-and-true ways to increase your positivity.

  • Focus on the good things – no matter how small or trivial they seem. This is the easiest way to start down a path of positivity. Challenges and obstacles are a part of life. But what we choose to focus on is up to us.
  • Think about your goals. By setting and achieving goals every day, you build up your self-confidence, which can lead to increased optimism.
  • It may seem silly at first, but smile more. People tend to smile most when they’re happy… but it turns out smiling is a two-way street. Smiling can cause the brain to release dopamine, which makes us happier. That’s not to say you should go through your day wearing a fake smile. But you can try starting the day smiling at yourself in the mirror and see if it impacts your mood or thoughts.
  • Spend time with your friends. We are social beings. And the researchers in the study mentioned above noted that optimism is related to strong social networks. So again, spending time with friends, participating in community events or engaging in group activities is a great way to increase your optimism.
  • Get active. Exercise isn’t just for your body. A regular exercise routine has been shown to reduce stress, anxiety and symptoms of depression while boosting happiness (again, thank dopamine), all of which can increase your level of optimism.

Changing your outlook isn’t going to happen overnight. But making efforts to focus on the good things can have an amazing impact on your mental and physical health… all while helping you live longer.

Related Articles