From the very beginning of this blog, I have shared my love of optimism. If you are optimistic there is a better chance good things will happen…at least that is the trend I have seen. (Don’t get me wrong, crappy things still happen. They are bound to happen no matter what you do.) But, could optimism not only help you have a better outlook on life but also help you be healthier?
This idea came to me while reading a New York Times article: A Positive Outlook May Be Good For Your Health.
The article talks about studies where patients with HIV and diabetes lived longer when they had positive emotions about their illnesses and lives. They were taught to think about things a little differently and practice mindfulness. Things they had to think about each day included:
- Recognize a positive thing that happened and either write it down or tell someone about it.
- Identify positive traits about yourself and see how you use it in everyday life.
- Set a goal and note your progress.
- Identify stress and identify what you can do to change it or put it in a positive light.
- Focusing on the present instead of the past or future.
I think these points are important even if you don’t struggle with an illness, you could just be trying to live a healthier lifestyle and I think these would help. For instance:
- If you are trying to lose weight set a goal and track your progress. Not every step you take is going to be perfect, but what did you learn from that misstep that can help you in the future?
- Focus on what you have control over right now. For example, I currently have the power to say no to eating a bagel with cream cheese. I really want one, but I have the control to say no and pick something healthier.
It is better to focus on the positive rather than bury yourself in the negative. I find whenever I am hitting a wall in my progress toward my weight loss goals my head is solidly in a negative space. It seems to me weight loss is 70% mental and 30% eating and exercise. I have to actively work through my anxieties about things and continually practice some reckless optimism to get through it.
What do you do to keep positive? Do you have any tips and tricks?