The word ‘longevity’ has increasingly been circulating in the health sector, with every product now being created aiming to increase your lifespan. But what really is longevity and why is it so important? In layman’s terms, longevity refers to a long life or ‘a greater duration of life.’ But, how do we achieve longevity? Is it really as unattainable as it seems? While there are multiple ways to ensure a longer lifespan—from optimal diets and levels of exercise to lifestyle changes—we want to tell you about a habit you can inculcate. We want to introduce you to the power of positive thinking and how it can impact longevity.
Here’s Why Positive Thinking Is Important
The use of positive thinking in making a worthwhile difference in our lives has been increasingly called into question. This stems from the mindset that it’s easier to rely on, and trust something tangible, that you can account for such as medicines to reduce your stress levels instead of relying on something like meditation. Now, you might be wondering how something as inherent as your thinking style can affect the biology of your body and actually make a difference in my longevity.
Well, keep reading, because we’ve got all the answers you’re looking for here. But first let’s understand what is positive thinking.
Positive thinking is essentially looking at the positive in any given scenario. While it can be easy to confuse this with the notion of ignoring all the bad and just acknowledging the good, it’s important to understand the difference between optimism and ignorance. Simply put, positive thinking encompasses going into a situation acknowledging the existence of the pitfalls but still choosing to look at the whole situation in an optimistic light. While this is easier said than done, you can always start small.
The Link Between Positive Thinking and Longevity
Now that we’ve clarified the terminology, let’s explore this relationship between positive thinking and longevity. Here are a few ways in which positive thinking can affect your longevity:
- It can increase your lifespan: Positive thinking has been seen to increase lifespan and prolong our longevity. In a study done by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh, it was seen that women above the age of 50 who practiced positive thinking were less likely to die from causes that otherwise caused greater rates of mortality in pessimistic women. In fact, these women are likely to have a 11 to 15% longer lifespan, according to the study. People practicing positive thinking were also more likely to engage in constructive habits and have a smaller likelihood of indulging in bad habits like smoking and binge drinking.
- Positive thinking can lower your risk of heart disease: Cynicism and hostility have been shown to lead to negative effects such as an increased probability of developing coronary heart disease, a serious condition that may result in mortality. This was in contrast to people who embraced positive mindsets and had a lower likelihood of CHD as well as general mortality.
- Stronger immune function is a happy result of positive thinking: According to a study by University of Queensland, the results of which were published in the journal Psychology and Aging, there exists a very vital relationship between the immune system and positive thoughts–particularly in the elderly. Researchers noted that participants who tended to recall more positive imagery which they were shown as part of the experiment had more antibodies in their blood, thus signaling a stronger immune system.
- Turns out, your body loves it when you laugh: Did you know humour contributes to increased longevity by having a positive effect on both your mental and physical health. Laughing activates and releases your stress response leading to a decrease in heart rate and blood pressure, two very important factors when we consider heart health.
Here’s How You Can Practice Positive Thinking Everyday
We know just how challenging it can be to figure out how to change your thinking style, so we’ve compiled a few ways in which you can start to embrace positive thinking in your day-to-day life!
- Journaling: A gratitude journal is a powerful first step in embracing positive thinking. The act of journalling itself promotes stress release and boosts creativity; a gratitude journal ties all that up by ensuring you are able to look back and recount the things you are thankful for. This can be a vital tool in changing your pattern of thinking for the better.
- An affirmation a day keeps the self-doubt away: Affirmations are essentially statements of intention such as,“ I am getting better and better every day.” Repeating these statements over a duration of time can have a powerful effect on your thinking style and cause internalization of the sentiment the statement aims to deliver.
- Seek out a new tribe: We’ve all come across the phrase, ‘your vibe attracts your tribe.’ Regardless of how positive you are, if you are constantly surrounded by pessimists, your energy will suffer and it’ll be easier to slip back into a negative mindset. Surrounding yourself with people on the same (positive) wavelength can amplify your energy and elevate your mood!
While we do acknowledge that these techniques can take some time to show positive results, remember: “all good things take time”, and this is no exception. Being patient with yourself and understanding your needs is a very important part of leading a long and healthy life.