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Be Optimistic and Live Longer

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Can your attitude help you live longer? According to a study just released in Circulation,the Journal of the American Heart Association, women who are optimistic live longer than pessimists!

Good news! (Yep, count me as an optimist!)

According to the study:

Optimistic women had a 9% lower risk of developing heart disease and a 14% lower risk of dying from any cause after more than eight years of follow-up.

In comparison, cynical women who harbored hostile thoughts about others or were generally mistrusting of others were 16% more likely to die over the same time-scale.

So, what’s the deal here?

It turns out women with positive outlooks on life tend to exercise more, eat better, stress less, and generally take better care of themselves. Which makes sense.

Also, women with positive outlooks tend to deal with adversity better.

Researcher believe harboring guilt, anger and hostile feelings can damage your health and make it more likely you will engage in poor habits such as smoking or overeating.

So, how is your outlook?

Find out with this Optimism Test and help from Dr. Suzanne Segerstrom, PhD., who conducts research on personality and immunity.

How do you improve your outlook? As my father used to say, behave, believe, become!

Behave as if you are an optimist. Start to say things like: “I’m really looking forward to this weekend. I think it will be fun!” Choose to do positive things for yourself like eating well and exercising. Disengage from activities and people who drag you down and surround yourself with people who are positive. Give yourself credit for what you do today and stop dwelling on the past. Life is not about perfection. It’s about moving in the right direction. Behave your way down the path to a positive outlook.

Believe your behavior and thoughts can change the way you feel. They can. If you believe you are worth laughter and smiles - you will be. Remember even the darkest times are followed by light. Believe the sun will come out again.

Become the optimist you want to be.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.