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Keeping A Positive Outlook For Your Better Health

Feb 6, 2008
Overall, people with a positive attitude are healthier and age better. One study at Yale University followed over 700 people for more than twenty years. Their research showed that individuals who had a positive outlook and viewed aging optimistically lived an average of seven and a half years longer than their pessimistic counterparts.

Positive thinkers or optimists tend to avoid depression and live longer than their pessimistic counterparts. However, staying positive is often easier said than done. Stress from work, family challenges, health problems and social commitments can often make it difficult to stay up-beat. And while mental illness, genetic propensity for depression and our upbringing can have an impact on our ability to stay positive, it's important to remember that we can learn positive thinking.

That same positive attitude can also lead to improved self-esteem and increased confidence. When we think positively, we're more likely to envision ourselves being able to accomplish a task or solve a problem.

Typically, older people who are better equipped to meet challenges and believe in their own abilities were much more capable living independently. Their confidence increased their quality of life and allowed them to age well.

Unfortunately, maintaining a constantly sunny disposition is often easier than it looks. Here are a few simple exercises that you can do to improve your self-esteem and keep a positive outlook:

Stay positive. Make a conscious, personal effort to keep your energy levels up and stay positive. Force yourself to smile if you have to.

Introduce yourself. By being an extrovert, you'll not only meet new people, but you'll also build your confidence along with your social skills. Make a point of introducing yourself to at least one new person a day.

Forgive others. By forgiving other people and letting go of old grudges, you're releasing so much stress and emotional clutter. That feeling of well-being often promotes a positive prospective.

Increase your spirituality. This doesn't mean you have to convert to a religion, but just look into developing your spiritual or religious life. Whether it's participating in an organized religious activity or simply meditating at the end of each day, spirituality can do wonders for your self-esteem.

Be aware of negativity triggers. Pay attention to the onset of negative thinking. Instead, try to take a systematic approach to positive thinking. When you feel yourself getting down, start to analyze why and make a conscious effort to think of three positive things about yourself. It may seem formulated, but it works.

Focus on your strengths. Cut negativity off at the pass by focusing on your abilities and always setting goals that realistic and achievable. Remember, you want to challenge yourself, not set yourself up for failure.

Stay connected. Don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it and try to foster healthy relationships. The next section in this chapter will cover the importance of building strong relationships in more detail.
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