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Optimism And Your Health

Silver linings: optimism and your health

If you think the way you think doesn’t count for much, then think again.

Optimism is a way of seeing the world in a positive light. Optimistic people focus on the good parts of a situation and expect that good things will happen in the future.

Whether you are a ‘glass half-full’ kind of person can also say a lot about your health and your life choices as well. Don’t believe it? This is what some of the research says:

Although the link between optimism and good health is quite strong, so far the research does not tell us what the link actually is, or exactly which factors are at play.

Some researchers believe that good health is due to the behaviour and actions that comes from optimism, rather than the thoughts themselves. Jean Hailes psychologist Dr Mandy Deeks says, “It is likely to be a combination of your thoughts, feelings, and how you react. Noticing your thoughts and feelings, challenging negative thoughts and changing how you act helps you to make better health choices. Reflecting on how it felt to act in an optimistic way is important, so if you say to yourself ‘I know how good it feels when I come back from a walk’, the positive result is likely to spur you on next time when it is raining!”

How can you build your levels of optimism?

“One of the best ways to boost your optimism is by getting out there and getting moving!”, says Dr Deeks. A study of young and midlife women has found that exercise helps to increase levels of optimism.

The researchers believe that exercise boosts your belief in yourself, as well as what you can achieve, and through this, your general belief in success and positivity grows. Dr Deeks supports this.

“Exercise can also provide an extra boost to your self-esteem, confidence, and feelings of self-worth – and all these factors are related to optimism,” says Dr Deeks. “What’s more, exercise can increase endorphins and decrease stress, depression and anxiety – exercise is often social and outdoors, and this can also help to build your levels of optimism.”

Dr Deeks also suggests:

Keeping optimism top of mind

Although life will always bring its ups and down, whenever you can, try to find the silver lining in each situation. Being optimistic doesn’t just improve the present moment, but could reap benefits for your health and longevity for years to come.

Published with the permission of Jean Hailes for Women's Health 1800 JEAN HAILES (532 642)

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