Pollyanna was Right

One woman presenting two personality

A recent NY Times article discusses the connection between brain and body and several studies have demonstrated that having a positive view of aging can have a beneficial influence on health outcomes and longevity.  

Judith T. Moskowitz, a professor of medical social sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, developed a set of eight skills to help foster positive emotions.

The eight skills are:

  • Recognize a positive event each day.

  • Savor that event and log it in a journal or tell someone about it.

  • Start a daily gratitude journal.

  • List a personal strength and note how you used it.

  • Set an attainable goal and note your progress.

  • Report a relatively minor stress and list ways to reappraise the event positively.

  • Recognize and practice small acts of kindness daily.

  • Practice mindfulness, focusing on the here and now rather than the past or future.

Becca Levy and Avni Bavishi, at the Yale School of Public Health, demonstrated that having a positive view of aging can have a beneficial influence on health outcomes and longevity. Dr. Levy said that a positive view can enhance belief in one’s abilities, decrease perceived stress and foster healthful behaviors. Physiologically, people with positive views of aging had lower levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of stress-related inflammation associated with heart disease and other illnesses, even after accounting for possible influences like age, health status, sex, race and education than those with a negative outlook. They also lived significantly longer.

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