With all the health trends whirling around this season, there’s a new one that everyone should be paying attention to. It’s not something you wear, or something you eat. Rather, it’s a frame of mind. It’s time to turn that frown upside-down. In a review of more than 160 studies, the evidence shows that happier people are healthier and actually live longer than the Debbie-downers out there.
One study of 5,000 university students found that the more pessimistic people died younger than those who looked on the sunny side. Another study showed those with more positive perceptions of aging lived about seven to eight years longer.
So if you’re going to be diligent on eating well and working out, remember that being positive is an equally important part of your healthy routine! Even the biggest pessimist can take a few pointers from our list of initiatives to think positively.
Appreciate, appreciate, appreciate! A really neat thing to start is a gratitude journal. This idea comes out of the positive psychology movement. Grab a notebook, and list at least five things daily (or weekly, you decide how often) that you are grateful for. Recognizing the great things that exist in your life is a great technique to ward off the blues. People often want appreciation from others. Instead, start to appreciate everything around you. Can’t seem to get started? Here are some quick and easy items to get you started:
- The sunshine and the weather
- Your food
- Your health
- Family, friends & the stranger who smiled at you on the street
- A good conversation
- The roof over your head
Focus on what you want, not on what you don’t want. Instead of focusing on things you don’t want, try to focus your thoughts on what you do want. Sounds simple, but it’s easier said than done. So if you want to save money, focus on having a great financial situation”not your lack of money and debts. If you’re looking for Mr. Right, focus on meeting new people and forming great relationships”not your loneliness and the tub of ice-cream calling your name. If you do this, opportunities will suddenly start to turn up out of nowhere. Your mind is the biggest barrier, so take time to focus on what you want in life.
Take a lot of action in your life. If you’re anything like me, there’s nothing more satisfying than ticking off the boxes on your to-do list. But, you’ve also probably fallen victim to the temptation of throwing that list to the wind. Just do it! is a nice slogan. But you have to actually follow through. Psychology says that to be more effective, tackle your biggest tasks first to reduce your stress level. Instead of procrastinating, do yourself a favor and take some action. The positivity that follows will be worth it!
Improve your social skills. So much of the happiness, value and fun in life come from interactions with other people. Improving your communication skills can greatly improve your life. Focus your attention more outward”toward other people”instead of focusing negative feelings inward that can come from spending too much time with just yourself. Human beings are social creatures, so socialize! Laugh, play and enjoy time with friends and family to enhance your life.
Educate yourself. Sometimes we neglect the joy of learning. Self-education is a great help to live a more positive life. Read a book on something you are interested in, or take a class if you’ve been hankering to start that new hobby. Talk to people about areas they are experts in, and learn something new every day! Knowledge is empowering, and empowerment leads to positivity.