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How Optimism Helps Us Live Better and Longer

By Sandy Schroeder

Wherever we are in the age spectrum, we all want to live longer, and attitude may have a lot to do with it.

Harvard Health recently noted researchers at Boston University have found people who are more optimistic have longer life spans.

Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, presented a study of some 70,000 women and 1,400 men. The study found individuals who were more optimistic lived 11 to 15 percent longer and had a 50 to 70 percent greater chance of living to 85.

Researchers are still working on how optimism impacts people. They believe optimistic people keep their emotions balanced, and have developed a resilience that lets them bounce back from difficulties.

How to Be More Optimistic

Here are a few tips on ways to hang onto a positive attitude. Researchers believe attitude can be changed, so we should keep working on it.

Reach out to positive people - Those friends who always make you laugh, and the ones who always listen when you need to talk can help you stay positive. Hanging out with positive people just makes sense. They are the ones who do more, always seem to be laughing, and seem like they have it all figured out. Why not join them?

Invent a few positive tricks - When nothing seems all that great you may have to invent things, like treating yourself to a movie, taking off for the weekend, or getting a haircut. Don't just sit there and suffer. Salvage the day and enjoy yourself.

Look for opportunity - Little things can make a difference. When you are open to the moment, you may see new ways to solve a problem, or new answers for an old issue. Try to see the world around you from as many different angles as possible.

Start the ball rolling - Give yourself an advantage by starting the day with your favorite coffee, and take 10 or 15 minutes to just sit and savor the morning. I have found a positive morning attitude can carry me all the way through the day with a little luck. 

Let exercise boost the mood - When I work all day and skip my walk, or yoga, I find my mood tends to flatten out. Inspiration goes out the window, and the afternoon gets longer. 

Do a mood check - I find staying positive is easier if I do a few mood checks along the way. Midway through the day, I may need to do a brisk walk or a series of stretches to lift my spirits. At the end of the day, a quick run or a walk to the park generates enthusiasm for cooking a great supper.

Positive attitudes can be contagious. Stay open to the moment and enjoy the benefits.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Wellington, Fla.

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