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How Positive Thinking Helps With Longevity

How Positive Thinking Helps With Longevity

When things around are stressful, not only do you impact your emotional health with negative and frustrated thoughts, but you impact your physical health as well. Prolonged exposure to stress can lead to poor mental health, both of which have been linked to weakened immunity, cardiovascular struggles, inconsistent weight maintenance, and premature aging symptoms. Since negativity adversely impacts these areas of health, consider what positivity does for your health. The power of positive thinking is a formative option for a strong anti-aging strategy.

Increased Longevity

You may have heard people talk about the power of positive thinking and it’s influence on personal success, but research studies support the power of positivity as a factor in longevity. How you perceive the aging journey can influence how well you age and how long you live. On average, people can extend their lifespan by 11-15% when they have a more positive outlook on life. It also increases the likelihood that these individuals can live past the age of 85. The study that uncovered these results were based on controlled factors of depression, income, gender, age, and health status. The perception of aging influences longevity as well, with those who look forward to aging and have a positive outlook on the process even while young increase their chances of living longer. The opinion that you form while a young adult or before you cross over the hill establishes the foundation for the perception of the actual event. This can tremendously impact your overall life expectancy.

Increased Resiliency

Your body will naturally start to break down or slow down as it ages, but the power of positive thinking can put the breaks on these changes. Your desire to live and live well makes you more resilient.  When people are focused on enjoying the journey through life, they are usually more proactive in taking care of their health. They tend to eat better, working to include a balance of fruits and vegetables and eliminating harmful processed foods from the diet. Dietary changes can improve a body’s health, supplying more energy and the nutrition needed to fight off harmful toxins or free radicals that may invade the body. Increased energy levels also sustain higher activity levels. Those who feel great will more proactively engage in exercise, sports, or activities that promote bone and muscle strength, weight loss, and coordination. All of these efforts contribute a more positive perception of youthfulness, as you will both look and feel better.  Positive perceptions reduce susceptibility to stress, further reducing your risk of developing health disorders or chronic diseases.

Increased Insight

The aging journey is nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed of, even though our society tends to make a big deal of being young and beautiful. Two of the things that come with age are wisdom and maturity. Experience is considered a great teacher, and if you choose to accept your journey with open arms, you may find that all of the things you go through give you a more positive perception of your path. When you seek out new experiences with an open mind, you strengthen your cognitive health. You create new neurological connections and strengthen old ones, helping ward off degenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s or dementia. A mind that is sharp and clear is reminiscent of your younger days, encouraging you to act that way and live life more vibrantly.

Make Necessary Changes

You don’t just wake up one morning and become the most positive person in the world. Like any other area of self-care, you will need to practice how to stay positive. These tools are free and can be done at any time or in any place, making it easy to change your thought process.

1.     Keep a journal. You should take a moment each day and acknowledge the things in your life that you are grateful for. You can make bullet points in a journal or you write a narrative about an event. Whatever way you choose to connect to these positive emotions, make sure you stay consistent. This will develop a habit of looking for the good in situations rather than the negatives.

2.     Repeat positive affirmations. Get into a habit of speaking positive affirmations into your life. Research says that the more you tell yourself something, the more likely you will be to believe it. Speak statements of assurance or self-confidence, such as “I am feeling alive today” or “I am living my best life.” Keep your affirmations grounded in reality, making sure you speak words that are realistic and truthful.

When you get into the habit of being positive, you can experience favorable benefits in your life. These benefits can impact your mental and physical health, helping you look and feel younger.


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About the author

Dr. Constance Odom, MD

4 min read