Saturday, December 22, 2012

Choose Optimism for a Happier, Healthier Life

There are many reasons to get bogged down by negativity and pessimism, especially during the mid-winter months or on the anniversary of family tragedies.  Finances may make your life more difficult.  Travel or life changes can be stressful.  Hosting relatives or extra people in your home may feel overwhelming.  Added to all this is the fact that many people suffer from SADD or Seasonal Affectedness Depressive Disorder, a type of seasonal depression that is more common when people spend a lot of time indoors in the winter.

As we have gotten older, many of us succumb to minor despondency, especially in the winter and during the holidays.  However, we can shake ourselves out of it.  Despite the fact that there are so many reasons to be negative and pessimistic, it is still possible to choose to be optimistic.  Yes, optimism is a choice.

How to be Optimistic

Many of the steps we need to take in order to be more optimistic seem simplistic.  Despite that fact, research shows that they really do work.  Below are some basic actions anyone can take in order to improve their lives ... and their health.

Use positive affirmations.  Start your day by telling yourself that something good is going to happen.  There may be problems but, overall, this day will be a good one.

Do something for someone else.  Studies show that we get as much pleasure out of giving something to someone else as the pleasure we experience from getting something.  Hold the door open for someone.  Let someone get ahead of you in line at the grocery store.  Give your change to a homeless person.  Not only will you make their day better, but these actions will make your own day better, too!

Smile.  Laugh often.  Read funny stories.  Watch comedies on television or at the movies.  Play a silly game with your grandchildren.  Laughter really is the best medicine!

Finally, end the day with gratitude.  As you close your eyes, think of at least one reason you have to be grateful. 

Benefits of Optimism for Our Health

As we grow older, many of us have lost both our sense of optimism and our sense of humor.  Perhaps those two things go together.  By regaining one, we may also be able to regain the other.

Some studies have shown that happy, optimistic people seem to have better health and live longer.  Whether that is true or not, they are more likely to feel less stress, engage in less binge eating and have lower blood pressure.  They also have fewer headaches and experience less overall pain. 

As you can see, the older we get the more reasons we should want to be optimistic.  Why let pessimism cause us unnecessary pain, discomfort and other health problems?

As you go through the end of this year and the beginning of next year, no matter what problems you are experiencing, choose to be optimistic.  It may be one of the best things you can do for yourself!

If you are interested in learning more about maintaining our health after retirement, finding good places to retire, financial planning and more, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of other useful articles.

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1 comment:

  1. If I had to pick one tip out of your wonderful article it would be to do something for someone else. It never fails to give you a good feeling.


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