It may not feel like it right now, but spring is just around the corner. When colorful blooms poke their heads through the cold ground, they encourage us to feel something a few of us may have forgotten over the past, stress-filled months—hope.
With a vaccine in full gear and an upturn in the weather, we, too, can soon emerge from our pandemic isolation. Like the blooms that held out for a year, gaining strength to emerge from their darkness, we are ready to prepare ourselves for a new normal—one that’s hopefully similar to our lives at the beginning of 2020. And boy are we excited!
Not feeling very hopeful after the year we just suffered through? We get it, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to look on the bright side. Research has proven time and again that optimists live longer, healthier, and happier lives.
One of the major ways to boost one’s happiness level is by eliminating, or at least reducing, stress. Exercise daily (at least 30 minutes—even a little walk will do), to stretch to relieve tension, and try meditating to increase your level of calm.
Now that we can see the proverbial light at the end of our pandemic tunnels, it’s time for us to allow hope to creep in. In case you aren’t convinced, here are four major ways being positive and hopeful can help us live longer and better lives:
Lower Blood Pressure The more positive you are, the healthier your heart will be. A study published by Cambridge University Press found that optimists have healthier tickers than their pessimistic counterparts. According to the researchers, those with the lowest levels of optimism and hope suffered a 22 percent increased risk of developing hypertension.
Fight Viruses Hoping to fend off sickness? Aren’t we all! According to an article published by Harvard Medical School, those with a “positive personality” were less likely to develop symptoms when infected with a respiratory virus than those who had a negative outlook. While being an optimist can’t cure someone of a virus, it can certainly help you fight one.
Live Longer The happier and more hopeful you are, the longer you’ll live. Scientists the world over have proven this fact repeatedly. For one thing, optimists are better able to fight diseases. They’re also better able to cope when life’s major stressors crop up. According to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), those with higher levels of optimism experienced longer life spans and a greater chance of “achieving exceptional longevity.”
Live Better Being positive and optimistic not only helps you live longer, but it presents people with a better life overall. The happier you feel, the easier it is to choose healthy eating and exercise habits, which leads to a slew of added benefits—weight loss, improved mental health, a boost in physical health, and better problem-solving skills.
When it comes to aging, those with a more hopeful attitude are also better able to live on their own for longer. What are you waiting for? Turn that frown upside down today
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