Doctors have known for decades that two major factors lead to a long life: genetics and a healthy lifestyle.
But a new study shows there’s something else that strongly influences how long we will live.
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine analyzed mental outlook of more than 70,000 people. The scientists followed the subjects for up to 30 years.
The researchers found that optimistic people had 11-15% longer lifespans. This means that if all other factors are equal, a pessimist would live to age 75 while an optimist would make it to 86.
The study found that optimists had an up to 70% better chance of living to age 85 than people with a negative attitude..
5 Ways to Train Your Brain to be Optimistic
You may think that there’s not much you can do to make yourself optimistic. But Dr. Lewina Lee, an author of the study, said that whether a person is optimistic or pessimistic is not set in stone. She says that you can give yourself a more positive outlook. with “relatively simple techniques and therapies.”
Here are five ways to train yourself to be optimistic:
- Don’t obsess over the news. It’s important to stay informed. But understand that negative events tend to get the most news coverage. You don’t have to read or watch the media for hours every day to know what’s going on in the world.
- Accept what you can’t control. Stress and unhappiness often come from dwelling on bad situations. Focus instead on solutions. For example, you can’t turn back time to return to a job you were fired from. But you can take steps to find new employment. Mindfulness meditation can help you live in the present moment rather than obsessing about the past or worrying about the future. Learn to do it here.
- Turn a negative into a positive. Experts call it “positive reframing.” When confronted with a negative situation, look for the upside. Here’s an example of positive reframing from Dr. Talya Steinberg: “A woman was new to a large company and was trying very hard to make a good impression. One day, responding to a widely sent email, she accidentally attached a personal document about her financial difficulties. Realizing the mistake, she quickly sent out a new email with the message ‘…Well, at least it wasn’t a love letter ;)’”
- Avoid negative people. Research shows having happy people near us keeps us positive… and having negative people close by brings us down.
- Keep a gratitude journal. Feeling gratitude for what’s good in your life fosters optimism. And a good way to feel gratitude is to list the people, places, things, or experiences that make you happy. Spend a few minutes each evening noting whatever brought you enjoyment that day. You will likely be surprised how much good you have in your life.
It’s not only more enjoyable to go through life with a smile, it can bring you better health and greater longevity. And the best part is that being positive is something you can control.
Editor’s Note: There’s a town in Italy where a huge percentage of the population lives to 100. And despite their advanced age, the residents still are able to work, have fun, and even have satisfying sex lives.
Scientists recently did a detailed study to discover the town’s secret. Yes, the Mediterranean diet is one of them. But the residents did something else that gave them extraordinary longevity and vigor.
Find out what it is by reading our monthly journal, Independent Healing…your best source for science-based health advice.