If you’re always fretting about that half-empty glass, you need to stop. Not only are you making yourself miserable, you’re endangering your health. In fact, research from the world renowned Mayo Clinic has found that positive thinking is the key to lowering your stress level and reducing your risk of depression may actually help you to live longer. If those reasons are not enough, here are five more facts about optimists that will help you look for the silver lining in your own life.
- Optimists have healthier hearts. 2012 research found that a healthy outlook and increased psychological well being is linked with a decreased risk of heart attack and strokes. While researchers are not sure if healthy heart habits lead to optimistic outlooks or if a positive worldview encourages people to make smarter choices, everyone knows that there’s a definite link between the two.
- Optimists are better able to handle stress. While pessimists have more experience with the expectation of failure, optimists are better at making lemonade out of the lemons that life hands them. Psychologists have also found that engaging in positive self-talk leads to an increased ability to problem solve during times of stress.
- Optimists have stronger immune systems than pessimists do. Researchers followed students through their first year of law school, an incredibly stressful time by all accounts. They found that students who displayed optimistic thinking were more likely to display cell-mediated immunity than their pessimistic cohorts.
- Optimists are better able to cope with their emotions. Dr. Dennis Charney studied many different people who have gone through traumatic events and unbelievable stress to find out what qualities made certain people bounce back from tragedy faster than others. He found that having a positive attitude was the number one key to success for overcoming incredibly stressful life events.
- Optimists may also have better cholesterol levels. A 2013 study from the Harvard School of Public Health found that middle-aged optimists were more likely to have higher levels of HDL cholesterol (the so called “good” cholesterol) and were more likely to have lower levels of triglycerides than pessimists.
If you’re a pessimist, there’s no reason to give up on a long and happy life; optimism is a skill that can be learned. If you’re constantly focusing on the negative, then you need to accept that you have a gloomy outlook that you’d like to overcome. A pessimistic personality can be changed with a little bit of effort. Some of the ways to accomplish this is through positive self-affirmations, meeting your needs and pampering yourself regularly. If pessimism is affecting your life, talk to your chiropractic team for help. Your chiropractor knows that an optimistic outlook can have a positive impact on your whole life and can work with you on ways to reduce stress and irritability in your life.