Are you a Debbie Downer?
Or do you go around humming “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” all the time?
And which do you think is better for your health – a negative attitude or a positive one?
Yep, it should be obvious. And it’s also true. Studies show that optimism is good for our physical and mental health, as well as our longevity.
- One group of researchers reported “older individuals with more positive self-perceptions of aging… lived 7.5 years longer than those with less positive self-perceptions of aging.”
- Another found that a positive outlook boosts heart health, even among people with a family history of heart disease.
- People with a positive outlook live longer, have fewer heart attacks, and struggle less with depression.
The positive news about all this, even for those with a grumpy disposition?
Exercise helps. Simply by moving our bodies, we put ourselves in a better mood. And by maintaining strength, agility and endurance, we build upon our happiness every day. So, go for a walk, ride a bike, lift weights, run, swim, hike, practice yoga, dance – whatever you like.
- Smile and laugh, even if you’re faking it – studies show we get the same physical benefits by just going through the motions.
- Write down or say something you’re grateful for every day.
- Call or see a friend or loved one.
- Let go of what you can’t control – like traffic, past mistakes, and other people.
Sources: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, John’s Hopkins, WebMD