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Happy New Year! Discover the Health Benefits of a Positive Attitude

Don’t worry . . . be happy! It’s more than just a popular song from the 1980s and more than just a new year's wish. In fact, according to research it’s a prescription for a longer, happier, healthier life. Science suggests that living with a “glass half-full” attitude can actually protect you from many negative health conditions and accelerated aging. Keep reading to find out how you can preserve your years simply by having a positive outlook on life.

Did you know that negative thoughts can literally make you sick?

People who are constantly negative are more prone to sickness.  According to a study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, “Negative brain activity is linked with a weakened immune system.”

Numerous other studies have shown a difference in the way your attitude is reflected in your brain activity. Pessimists, people who are more sensitive to negative events, have more activity in the right pre-frontal cortex of the brain.  Those with more activity in the left pre-frontal cortex are more positive emotionally. Research has shown that those who have an optimistic outlook on life actually live longer and are healthier overall.

Health benefits of people with a positive attitude:

  • Fewer problems with work or daily activities because of physical or emotional health
  • Less pain and fewer limitations because of pain
  • A more peaceful and calmer environment
  • More energy

A positive attitude can also affect your quality of life as you become older.  If you look at life with humor and vitality based on your fundamental beliefs and social connections, then you will have a better future. However, if you look at becoming older with a feeling of doom, emptiness and depression, you will likely find yourself with more mental and physical deterioration.  The more negative you are, the faster you will age.

How to Keep a Positive Attitude

Life, in general, will throw you many challenges and frustrations.  Therefore, it is up to you to find ways to improve your outlook on life and enhance your overall health.  There are a few things you can do to ensure a positive approach:

  1. Eat a healthy diet.  Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, as well as adding healthy oils, such as fish and flaxseed, can make a huge difference in the way you feel.  If you have a hard time eating the right kinds of food, try to supplement your diet with vitamins and other nutritional supplements on a daily basis.

  2. Exercise regularly.  When you add aerobic exercises into your daily routine, endorphins (feel good substances) are released.  These endorphins will actually help to reduce stress, depression and anxiety.  Exercise does not have to be a difficult and long process.  Simply taking a brisk walk or playing a game of tennis will suffice.  Try to spend about 30 minutes 3 to 5 times a week doing some type of aerobic activity. 

  3. Get plenty of sleep.  The point of sleep is to refresh your body.  Not only does sleep help to improve your overall attitude, but it also gives you the energy you need to perform the physical activities you need to do to get through each day. 

  4. Find ways to reduce stress.  Identify situations where you are stressed out the most and try to find ways to manage this stress.  Believe it or not, exercise is an excellent way to relieve stress, as is meditation.  Also, make proactive changes in your life that will reduce or eliminate stress.

  5. Cleanse your body and mind.  Get rid of the toxins in your body by going through a detoxification process. 

  6. Forgive and forget.  Many times people will hold grudges or they will forgive but not forget a transgression.  These grudges only weigh you down and make it almost impossible to have a positive attitude.  Try to get past whatever has happened.  If you cannot get over something that was done to you, it may be better for your overall health to just let go of that friendship or relationship.

Who knew that your attitude played such a vital role in your overall health? While life often seems heavy and difficult to deal with, taking an optimistic view will help to ensure that you’re happier and healthier for many years to come.

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