November 7, 2010

Positively Add Years to Your Life

Do you see the glass as half empty or half full? Those who see the glass as half full may be adding years to their life.

Do Positive People Live Longer was a question posed recently in the Huffington Post. Reporter David Hamilton Ph.D. says “a host of exciting research has shown that attitude affects our health – so much so, in fact, that a positive attitude can add years to our lives.”

There are a variety of studies that confirm that positive people do live longer.
  • Healthy volunteers contracted a cold or flu virus and were assessed by their emotional style. The results clearly showed that the most positive people produced less mucous and had fewer overall symptoms. Study by Carnegie Mellon University.
  • A 30-year study found that optimists had around a 50 percent lower risk of early death than pessimists. Study by Mayo Clinic.
  • When a group of 660 elderly people were interviewed to see whether they had a positive attitude about aging, those that were positive, lived an average of 7.5 years longer than those with the most negative attitudes. Study by Yale University.
  • In the Netherlands, a study found a “protective relationship” between optimism and mortality, meaning that optimists lived longer. There was found to be a 77 percent lower risk of heart disease than pessimists. Arnhem Elderly Study
There are four types of stress; physical, chemical, nutritional and mental, that can cause and promote inflammation – leading to disease. Reducing mental stress can prevent disease and improve your health.

“How do we turn our minds to more positive things?” Hamilton says. “Counting blessings is a simple way. Or challenge yourself to go three weeks without complaining, moaning, or criticizing.”

One way I’ve been doing this is to make myself accountable for counting my blessings by posting daily on my blog Gratefully Aligned. I encourage you to write down one thing you are thankful for every day.

Hamilton asks if you have a tendency to "make mountains out of molehills"? If so, try out the opposite just for a week. Try making molehills out of mountains.

Many people have heard of Dale Carnegie’s popular networking book How to Win Friends and Influence People, but he also has a very helpful book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living that outlines practical techniques to reduce worry and stress in your life.

“These simple techniques don't sound like much, but if they become a habit, they'll be some of the best habits you've ever adopted, because they might just add years to your life,” Hamilton concludes.

Read the complete article from the Huffington Post here.

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