Bobby McFerrin was onto something when he sang “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” Turns out that thinking optimistically not only can make you happier, it can help you battle chronic illness, and may improve your health and even help you live longer. A study of more than 4,000 people aged 50 and older showed that those with a positive view of aging showed greater health and longer survival than their counterparts with a more negative view. Researchers explain that positivity leads to greater belief in one’s abilities, less perceived stress, and more healthful behaviors. Additionally, those in the positivity camp had lower levels of stress-related inflammation associated with disease than those with a negative outlook. What can you do to shape a positive outlook? A few tips:
1. Recognize a positive event each day. Record your thoughts in a gratitude journal.
2. Practice acts of kindness on a daily basis, such as volunteering.
3. Practice mindfulness, focusing on living life in the present moment.