Optimism Can Boost Your Life Expectancy
Tired of the "Bad News" news cycle? The relentless headlines and soundbites can impact our attitude, cause anxiety and negatively impact our outlook in general. It's time to turn off the news and incorporate these 4 practices.
New research recently published surveyed about 70,000 men and women, different ages, different demographics. They studied the women for 10 years and men for 30 years and on average, optimistic men and women lived 11% to 15% longer than those who were negative and they had 50% to 70% greater odds of reaching age 85.
Here are four tips to help cultivate optimism and live a longer life:
1. Focus on what you can control
There are some things that are just out of all of our control, including the new Coronavirus or the governments actions in response to it. Other than follow the recommended health practices (wash your hands!), you can't do anything about it. A favorite quote of mine is actually from Bruce Lee. It says to be like water. While water is very soft, it can also overcome the hardest things. Think about how long it took for water to carve out the Grand Canyon. Being flexible and able to adapt to situations and maintain a positive outlook will help you focus on what matters and what you can control. By being able to focus on what matters and what you can control, you're going to be able to be more positive in the long run, and add years to your life.
2. Take account of the company you keep
You're the average of the five people you're around the most, and this is extremely important. Negativity is contagious. Optimism is contagious. So in this case, your friends really are your future. Be very intentional with the company that you keep. Surround yourself with those kinds of people. Let that help rub off on you, and you do the same. Build that culture of optimism.
3. Acknowledge the negative
If you can acknowledge when you're having negative thoughts and have that self awareness, you'll be able to put yourself into the right mindset. The first step is you have to admit you have a problem. Being able to acknowledge it is going to help you be more positive in the long run. Don't be miserable in advance. The best case scenario is if the news turns out to be better than expected, then you waste all your time with needless fear. And the worst case scenario is that you are miserable for extra time, but by choice. We know anything bad could happen, but by focusing on the hypotheticals ahead of time, you're choosing to be miserable in advance, instead of focusing on what you can control now.
4. Take Notes
Keep an account of and edit your life. It’s helpful to document all of the good things that are happening. One way to do that is to keep a journal: maybe just a gratitude journal. Greg McKeown, author of Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit Of Less, is big on journaling. His secret? He always writes less than he feels like writing. I'm not talking about sitting down and setting a 30 minute timer and busting this out, although some people may find that appealing and easy to do. However, everybody can afford to take 5-10 minutes out of their day and write down three things they are grateful for, especially right now.
Hoping you stay safe, sane and healthy - and also, Stay Optimistic!
Check out our past Podcast Episode on this topic for more info <<Click HERE to Listen>>