Do you try to look for the bright side of every situation? When you wake up in the morning, do you look forward to the day ahead? Do you count your blessings each and every day, even in times of stress? If you answered yes, then you are already on the right track toward a healthy heart! Research shows that a positive attitude is linked to better health outcomes, especially improved heart health. People who are optimistic tend to live longer, have fewer cardiovascular diseases, and overall lead healthier lives. Do you and your loved ones want to reap the benefits of positive thinking, while gaining healthier hearts in the process?

Studies show that optimism has a direct impact on your body and future health risks. In a study published in Health Behavior and Policy Review, researchers examined the optimism levels and physical health of more than 5,000 adults from ages 52 to 84. Results showed adults with greater optimism had twice the odds of being in ideal cardiovascular health compared to adults who were pessimistic. Optimism also had better blood sugar and cholesterol levels than those who held negative attitudes. While everyone can benefit from a more positive attitude, older adults can especially improve their health by thinking more on the bright side. Optimism in seniors is associated with fewer chronic illnesses (such as high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, lung disease, coronary heart disease and stroke) as well as increased overall health.

Here are some simple suggestions for increasing positivity:

  1. During the day, be mindful of things that go right. How are you winning?
  2. Connect with loved ones. Whether it’s a simple text, sending them a photo of a happy memory you shared, or just spending time with them at the dinner table. It’s hard not to feel happy when you’re surrounded by the people who love you!
  3. Keep a gratitude journal. There is so much to be thankful for, and seeing a list of all the things going right in your life is sure to put a smile on your face!
  4. Leave your work stresses at work. Consciously decide what you want to bring home with you, leaving the burdens that upset you behind. When you get home, take time to relax and unwind.
  5. Find the humor in your life! It’s ok to smile and laugh at the silly things that happen in everyday life–especially in challenging moments.
  6. Surround yourself with positive people to help build you up
  7. Be your own best friend. Stop comparing yourself to others, and banish the negative self-talk inside your head. Love yourself!

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