Can positive thinking help you live longer? Many aging researchers think so.
In fact, one study found that individuals who have more positive perceptions of their own aging lived an average of seven and a half years longer than their more pessimistic peers.
But the life-prolonging benefits of seeing the glass half full are likely more complicated than that. A sunny outlook can improve our lives in many small ways that then accumulate into extra happy years.
Here are three big ways that seeing the world through rose-colored glasses can help us live longer, happier lives.
1. Better relationships
Happiness, it turns out, really is contagious. Having a positive attitude has been known to improve interpersonal relationships and even affect people who are several degrees removed from our social circles. And when we cultivate deep personal relationships with friends, family, and neighbors, we enjoy the safety of others’ care as well as plenty of emotional positive reinforcement.
2. Less stress
It turns out that laughing is not only fun; it’s healthy, too. When we laugh, we exercise important muscle groups and lower our stress levels. One of the most common explanations for the longevity effects of positivity is that positive people are simply not as stressed out. Stress is known to trigger internal inflammation, which speeds up the aging process. Less stress means less inflammation, which can result in a longer life.
3. Healthier lifestyles
People who see the glass half-full are more likely to take measures toward preserving their own physical well-being. If they value life, they do what they can to preserve, extend, and enhance their lives with exercise and healthy choices. Exercise, in turn, triggers the release of endorphins in our brains that boost our positive feelings of optimism and self-esteem. Positivity and exercise can create a very healthy feedback loop that will help you live a fulfilling, longer life.
These are only three of the ways that positive thinking can prolong your life. Do you have any more to add? Share yours on the Senior Lifestyle Facebook page!