Good Natured

Be Optimistic

It’s good for your health

By Karen Frye

Some things are worth working for. Being optimistic may turn out to be one of them. Thinking of your life in the future, always imagine that you have the best of all possible outcomes. Maintaining an upbeat, positive frame of mind may even extend your life. Optimism’s benefits include better mental, emotional and physical health.

Many of us have a friend or loved one suffering from age-related dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. The number of people with this health issue seems to keep increasing even with medications to slow it down. The gene APOEe4 is the risk gene with the greatest known impact, though its presence does not mean that a person will develop Alzheimer’s.

Yale University researchers have discovered that people who carry the gene but hold positive beliefs about aging appear less likely to develop dementia than those with negative aging beliefs. Just by having an optimistic outlook, you can reduce your risk. Feeling good overall about your aging experience can help you deal better with stress. We all recognize the negative effect stress has on our health. Having a positive outlook can help with reductions in stroke, heart disease and pain. It also strengthens the immune system. In a study of more than 2,500 men and women over the age of 65, those who were most optimistic had the lowest blood pressure. The simple fact may be that negativity contributes to deteriorating health and disease. Just by keeping an upbeat attitude you can reduce inflammation, lower cortisol, and lower cholesterol, underlying causes of chronic disease.

Here are a few ideas to get you started on becoming the optimist you want to be.

— Notice how you perceive the world around you; the more you recognize the positive things in your life, the easier it becomes to see them in the future.

— Even in difficulty and uncertainty, there is always a lot to feel positive about.

— Take a few index cards and write helpful reminders, positive messages and put them in places where you see them throughout the day to keep your thoughts on the right track.

As this practice becomes a normal way of life, your health conditions may start to improve and your quality of life will be better. You might find that people want to be around you because you boost their optimism.

See more goodness in life, and your life will be rewarded with a warm heart and a long healthy life.

All the best on your journey.  PS

Karen Frye is the owner and founder of Natures Own and teaches yoga at the Bikram Yoga Studio.

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