Have you ever walked into work on a Monday, and had that one co-worker who is always so damn happy, smile and greet you like it isn’t a freaking Monday? Before you toss a bagel at the back of good ol’ Mark’s head, stop and ask yourself, “if he’s happy, why can’t I be?” Now, at this point the fate of Mark and the bagel are up to you, but we suggest you put it down, and read on to see why optimistic people live longer healthier lives.

A recent study published in a journal of the American Heart Association showed that people dealing with health concerns, even as serious as heart disease, live longer if they have a positive outlook on life. In fact, in the study of 607 patients, those with overall more positive moods were 58 percent more likely to live at least another five years.

Being optimistic, doesn’t necessarily mean you walk around with a smile on your face 24/7, or that you are oblivious to life’s less than pleasant situations, however, it does mean you remain positive about what’s to come. Here are just a few of the many positive effects optimism can have on your health.

  1. Improves immune cell function. Humor helps you ward of illnesses, decreases your chances of cancer, and greatens your resistance to the common cold.  No wonder Debby Downer in the office down the hall is always coughing and leaving her tissues all over the office. Having an upbeat outlook on life will help you fight off illnesses.
  1. Increases life span.  It’s hard not to be happy knowing you’re going to live longer. Having a positive outlook can influence more than just your mood. Optimistic people are more likely to achieve their goals and be more satisfied with their lives. When compared to pessimists, optimists have better mental and physical health, and live longer.
  1. Reduces stress. Positive thinking reduces stress, allowing you to enjoy life more.  Being optimistic doesn’t mean you keep your head in the sand and ignore problems; it is about approaching stressful events in a more positive and constructive way. So, next time you’re presented with a new issue, instead of saying, “I’ve never done it before,” attack the project with an “I’m going to learn something new” attitude.
  1. Lowers risk of heart disease. Heart disease is the number one killer in America. Having a positive outlook on life lowers your chance of heart disease. A study published in a journal of the American Heart Association, found that optimists were less likely to develop heart disease than pessimists.

If you’ve just read the benefits of optimism, and are thinking to yourself this can’t be true then this next portion is for you, so please keep reading.

Obviously, you can’t just go to the doctor and ask for a dose of positivity, but you can take the initiative to inject a little optimism in your life. Here are some tips to keep you on that positive track to better health:

  1. Allow yourself to laugh. Look for the humor in a stressful or unpleasant situation.
  1. Meditate. Quietly and intently focusing on the present can help lessen feelings of anxiety and depression. Flotation therapy takes meditation to a whole new level, maximizing the benefits.
  1. Write it down. A great way to start your day is to write down at least three things you’re grateful for. Waking up thinking about reasons you should be happy will help you put things into perspective.
  1. Exercise. Putting health stress on your bones and muscles and challenging your cardiovascular system is important to your healthy being. Something as simple as a nightly walk can be an important addition to your routine to help you maintain a positive attitude.

These are just 4 simple steps, for more suggestions on positive thinking check out our past blog 8 Simple Steps for a Happier Healthier Lifestyle.