Pop Quiz 🙂
What’s the most important factor for a living a well and long life?
A) Being a Non-Smoker
B) Exercising Regularly
C) Maintaining a Healthy Blood Pressure
D) Maintaining Healthy Cholesterol
Actually A-D are all helpful at increasing longevity. On average being a non-smoker, exercising regularly, or maintaining healthy blood pressure and cholesterol add just less than 4 years to life span.
But there is something that can add twice as many years to your life.
What can be twice as effective as exercising regularly at increasing longevity?!
Yep, you heard me right 🙂
Optimism about aging can add nearly 8 years to your life.
In a 2002 Yale, study researchers found that when middle age people had an optimistic and positive view of aging they lived on average 7.6 years longer than those who had a more pessimistic view of aging.
Mindset Affects Health
Mindset and Beliefs affect our health in 2 ways. (Physiologic & Behavioral)
- Physiologic: How we think about things affects how our body physiologically responds through the mind-body connection.
- Behavioral: How we think about things affects what we do and how we interact in the world.
Optimism and Physical Health
The mind-body connection has been well establish and we know that our hormonal and physiologic response to stimuli is affected by our thoughts. In her book, “The Upside of Stress“, Stanford psychologist Kelly McGonigal PhD gives many examples of mindset affecting physiology, but here’s just one.
Threat versus Challenge
When we view something as a Threat our heart rate goes up to prepare us for fight or flight, but our blood vessels constrict (clamp down). Blood vessels constrict so that if we’re injured we’ll bleed less. High heart rate with constricted blood vessels increases the risk of heart attach and stroke, and this is part of the mechanism that makes “stress” a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
On the other hand, when we view something as a Challenge our heart rate still goes up, but our blood vessels dilate (open up). This physiologic response is similar to what happens when we exercise. Blood vessels open up to get fuel and energy to our muscles so that we can rise to meet the challenge. So this type of response can actually be health promoting.
How you think about things affects your physical health.
Stress and Optimism Connection
There is a Stress and Optimism connection.
Are you going through your life labeling everything as a threat?
Has that become your default mindset?
Or are you able to look for the possibilities and opportunities in situations?
What if you were able to train your mindset to recognize more situations as challenges and also view yourself with strengths, wisdom, resources, and abilities to rise to a challenge!
A mindset shift can have direct positive affects on your physical health and shifts can change how you move through the world. You can improve well being simply by shifting your mindset.
Optimism is the Gateway to Breakthroughs!
The reason I focus on optimism as a coach is that it’s nearly impossible to accomplish a worthy goal or have a personal breakthrough without optimism! Having a more optimistic disposition leads to more positive action.
Whether you want to lose weight, start a business, pursue a passion, or find your soul mate you need a certain level of optimism that it’s possible to get yourself motivated enough to start down the path to your dreams.
Without a belief that something is possible you’ll never pursue it.
Thus, Optimism is a powerful motivator, and the resulting Hope, Courage, and Perseverance that it brings make it a cornerstone of goal achievement.
If you’re curious to know more about how optimism can improve your well-being and increase your chances of having a personal breakthrough, sign up for my free webinar… Upping Your Optimism— Coming Soon.
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Yours in Health