We’ve all had trouble finding the positives in any given situation, but as your mother probably told you, nobody wants to be around a negative Nelly.
Well it looks like being a glass is half full kind of person actually does more than just win you friends. According to science, it can make you live longer too–if you’re a female at least.
That’s the word from a new study conducted by Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, which looked at more than 70,000 women enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Program. The women were asked to rate their own levels of optimism back in 2004, and then again in 2012.
They found that women who had negative attitudes were more likely to have high cholesterol and hypertension. They were also more likely to develop diabetes or cancer, and were even at a greater risk for a stroke. Meanwhile, the women who were more positive were less likely to smoke, exercised more and tended to have higher levels of education.
So, does that mean optimistic people are just more cognizant of their health? Or is there a direct cause between morality and positive thinking? Since this is one of the very few studies dedicated to the subject, there’s still lots of research to be done to know for sure.
On the plus side (see what we did there?) it’s good to know that we may be able to exercise some control over our health based on our mindset. Positive thinking is a trained behaviour, and there’s a whole slew of exercises out there that can help us to get there.
One of the easiest, Oprah-approved methods? Start a gratitude journal. With the New Year coming up, it’s the perfect time to implement one. Just keep a notebook beside your bed, and every night before you go to sleep, write down one to three things you’re grateful for. Who knows, doing so could even save your health in the long run.
So don’t be a Debbie downer; be a positive Petunia.