Though most of us know that positivity is a stress reducer and a component of heart health, fewer people know about its connection to longevity. Yes, optimism can actually help you live longer. The mind and body are connected in a myriad of ways, so it makes sense that positive mental health practices would improve your physical health as well.
Perceptions of aging
Studies have found that those with positive perceptions of aging live longer lives. In fact, those that look forward to aging have a higher resilience to illness and other physical ailments that come with greying hair. Therefore, adjusting your negative ideas about aging as soon as possible will result in an increase in your will to live.
Wisdom and age
Most of the time, society encourages us to prize our younger years. It’s easy to get caught up in these ideas about beauty and youth. However, people gain wisdom as they acquire years. Experience makes for more informed decisions. But, experience can only come with age. Indeed, age often leads to better social skills and an increase in empathy.
Optimism and meaningfulness
It can be difficult to find the bright side of a difficult diagnosis or simply the decline that comes with aging. However, it’s important to visualize the best case scenario with a loved one in these moments. Visualize how you will react no matter the outcome. A positive outlook will help increase feelings of meaningfulness in your life. If you believe your positive actions will have a favorable effect on the world around you, then you have a better chance to make the optimism a daily occurrence.
Happiness links to optimism, optimism links to meaningfulness, and meaningfulness links to longevity. Increasing happiness seems like the first step to achieving the above goals. But how do you find greater enjoyment in your everyday life? First, find what helps you find meaning in your life. Is it being creative? Try journaling each day. Is it engaging with others? Try to volunteer every few weeks. After you’ve decided what feels meaningful, engaging in these activities will increase levels of joy.
Overall, embracing aging rather than dreading its effects has a plethora of benefits. Simply cutting out the stress of imagined scenarios of decline will increase health and immunity. Other than stress reduction, embracing optimism will make for a more fulfilling life. Doctors are still working to understand the complete link between the mind and the body, but this they’re certain of: positive mental health practices lead to longevity. So here’s to optimism.