Put on a Happy Face - For a Longer Life

Armen Hareyan's picture

Be Happy

Optimism, whether it comes naturally or is learned, is good for you.

Not only do happy people live longer than curmudgeons, but they also lead healthier lives. Researchers at Mayo Clinic reviewed the records of people who completed the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory in the early 1960s. Three decades later, they found that pessimists, as compared to optimists, had an increased risk of death. The more pessimistic the personality, the greater the risk. In a follow-up study, optimistic people had better health in all areas.

If you're not naturally a glass half-full person, you may be able to learn to be more optimistic - and improve your health. The October issue of Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource offers suggestions for becoming more optimistic:

  • Stop negative self talk. When you catch yourself thinking that you won't enjoy an event or do well on a project, stop the thought. Instead, identify the positives in the situation.

  • If you're irritated with your spouse or partner, think back to those qualities that you found so attractive when you fell in love. Keep those qualities in the forefront of your mind.


  • Find joy in your work. No matter what kind of job it is, find some aspect that's personally satisfying.

  • Surround yourself with positive, upbeat people.

  • Deal with situations that you can control, and try to accept those you can't.

  • Put things in perspective. Life may take you on difficult paths. Try to find the adventure. A bump in the road is only temporary.

  • Each day, write down three positive things that happened that day as well as speculations about why those good things happened.