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When You Are Happy and You Know It Health Wins

By Sandy Schroeder

I think I have always known the value of a positive attitude, but more and more research shows just how important it can be. Research says optimistic people score in several areas.

  • The risk of heart disease is reduced
  • The risk of stroke is less
  • Declines in lung issues are reduced
  • Cancer and infection rates are less

Optimism Links to Longevity Too

New research says optimists may also live longer.

A new study reported in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, says men and women who had greater levels of optimism lived longer. They also had a better chance of living past age 85. The researchers drew their data from the large Nurses' Health Study for women, and the Veterans Affairs Normative Aging Study for men.

Join the Party and Become More Optimistic

No matter where you are now, it never hurts to learn more ways to stay positive. Harvard Health offers these tips

Learn the value of a new perspective - Do you see the glass as half empty instead of half full? Positive people learn to spot the advantages in any situation and always leave room for hope. Negative people only see the down side and hold out little hope for change. When you run into a negative situation, learn from it, ask yourself what can be saved, and then move ahead, confident that things will improve.

Post daily goals - Optimistic people keep a running schedule of goals that are specific. Some people call these action items, but whatever you call them, a list of detailed targets on projects, tasks and deadlines will tend to move your agenda ahead.

Discover the "half-smile" - Sometimes I find it hard to grin when the going has been tough, but I can manage a "half-smile," which is a recommended psychotherapy technique to help individuals deal with sad thoughts. Try it and see if it works for you too. It may be just the nudge you need to relax and see everything in a better light.

Review the day and be thankful - Take a little time each day to see what went well, what made you happy, what pleased you. Sometimes we are so busy bemoaning problems that we glide right by the good stuff.

Create a grateful meditation - Think about your family, friends, job, home, and accomplishments in a thankful meditation. That daily reminder is a natural for positive feelings.

Reach out to those around you - Stay in touch with friends and family and continue to look for new groups to join. Each group offers the opportunity to learn from others and contribute your skills and abilities. The stronger your network of connections the better chance you have of staying optimistic.

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

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