Be Optimistic, Live Happier, Live Longer
Yes, Optimism promotes longevity, because having a positive outlook on life has been shown to be the most influential factor in longevity studies.
Healthy behaviors cannot fully account for impact optimism has on mortality, but some researchers believe optimism has a direct effect on biological systems.
While conventional medicine is still reluctant to admit that your emotional state has a major impact on your overall health and longevity, a Y 2013 article in Scientific American discusses a number of interesting advancements in the emerging field of psychoneuroimmunology (PNI).
Researchers found that our brain and immune system are actually wired together.
Connections between the human nervous system and immune-related organs such as your thymus and bone marrow allow for crosstalk between the 2 systems. our immune cells also have receptors for neurotransmitters, which suggests they can be more or less directly influenced by them.
Stress alters our Immune Function and Genetic Expression
For example: Stress has been shown to reduce activity of virus-fighting immune cells. Stress also increases levels of antibodies for common viruses such as Epstein-Barr, suggesting that stress can reactivate otherwise latent viruses in your body. Ruminating on a stressful incident has also been shown to increase your levels of C-reactive protein (a marker of inflammation). Research has also shown that different types of stress alter different parts of your immune system.
Brief stress, such as making a speech or taking a test, tends to suppress cellular immunity, acquired immunity mediated by antigen-specific T cell lymphocytes involved in resistance to infectious diseases, while preserving humoral immunity, which refers to antibody production and accompanying processes. As a result, we may find ourselves more vulnerable to the common cold or flu.
Chronic stress, such as caring for a partner or parent with dementia, suppresses both components of the immune system, making one more susceptible not just to infectious diseases, but all disease.
Our mental states have genetic repercussions.
In 1 study, chronic loneliness was associated with the up- and down-regulation of specific genes. Genes involved in the regulation of inflammatory response were up-regulated, while genes involved with anti-viral control were down-regulated. The end result was decreased immune function. In socially active people, the reverse was true.
Some of the Secrets of Happy People
Being able to manifest positive emotions and happiness is perhaps one of the greatest gifts we have been given as a human being. But to some extent, being happy is a choice to make, much like choosing to exercise or eat right.
Happiness comes from within, it is not meted out by circumstance alone. So, if you truly want to be happy, you need to work on yourself 1st.
Self-acceptance appears to be 1 of the Key factors that can produce a more consistent sense of happiness. In a survey of 5,000 people by the charity Action for Happiness, people were asked to rate themselves between 1 and 10 on 10 habits that are scientifically linked to happiness.
While all 10 habits were strongly linked to overall life satisfaction, “acceptance” was the strongest predictor.
The survey resulted in the following list of 10 Keys to Happier Living, which together spell out the acronym GREAT DREAM:
Giving: Do things for others
Relating: Connect with people
Exercising: Take care of your body
Appreciating: Notice the world around you
Trying out: Keep learning new things
Direction: Have goals to look forward to
Resilience: Find ways to bounce back
Emotion: Take a positive approach
Acceptance: Be comfortable with who you are
Meaning: Be part of something bigger
In order to be happier one might think the 1st step would be to eliminate negative experiences in one’s life, but often these are beyond our control.
So, focus on increasing the positive experiences. This is something that everyone can do. Even ordinary moments can be a source of great pleasure.
For instance, if you have 1 hr free, do you spend it doing something fun?
Or do you spend it catching up on housework, tackling an extra work project, or otherwise working? The latter is a “minor form of insanity,” according to happiness researcher Robert Biswas-Diener, PhD
To break free of this trap, make a point to schedule your weeks around events or ordinary activities that make you feel truly happy and alive.
Emotions such as happiness “can pulse through social networks,” spreading from person to person.
Here is the link to the Optimists Creed, I learned it as a boy from my father, it is good stuff. In short, “never let anything disturb your peace of mind.”
Get happy, Stay happy, Spread happiness
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