Is your glass of water half empty or half full? How you answer that question can say a lot about your frame of mind.
It’s a well-known fact that your emotional wellness can have a direct effect on your physical wellness, but to what degree? Research has found that an upbeat attitude or happiness can help lessen the burden of chronic pain, say from arthritis, or even reduce your chances of developing cardiovascular disease. And, there are some experts out there who think that having a positive outlook on life can even help you live longer.
In a study done at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., researchers followed a group of people for 30 years. They found that those who were originally classified as “optimistic” on a standard personality test turned out to be 20% less likely to suffer an early death than those classified as “pessimistic.”
Opt for a Good Mood, Opt to Live Longer
Happiness plays a fairly important role in keeping your brain healthy and vital, too. Experts say staying positive helps fight the “blues.” This is good news in terms of longevity since, among other factors, depression has been shown to increase a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
According to experts, an optimistic outlook isn’t hard to achieve, and doing a few simple “optimism exercises” can yield a big reward. Optimism exercises don’t have to be formal. You can improve your attitude just by taking a brisk walk, petting your dog or playing with your children or grandchildren outside. Anything that lets you release pent-up negativity and experience calm, peaceful thoughts can go a long way toward helping you become—and stay—more positive.
Training Your Brain to Stay Positive
There are also some specific activities you can undertake to boost your brain’s vitality. The ancient practice of yoga, research has found, can improve your cognitive function, including your memory. Practicing yoga trains your brain to stay focused. It requires you to concentrate on your body’s movement in space and the actual mechanics of your breathing, while tuning out distractions.
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