Want to Live Longer? Try Optimism

We’re six weeks into the lockdown and collectively the country has done a fantastic job a tacking COVID-19 head on.  But in typical fashion, the media is feeding us a diet of doom and gloom 24/7.  Not much to be optimistic about, right? 

What about the fact that modelling showed we could easily have been at 10,000 COVID-19 cases by now?  Or that, unlike most of the world, we actually have a chance to snuff out this nasty little bug? 

If they’re not causes for celebration and optimism what is?!

Aside from making it easier to face life in your bubble with a smile each day, there are major proven health benefits to a positive, optimistic mindset. 

For instance, a long-term study of 100,000 women found that those who were optimistic were 14% less likely to die from any cause than pessimists, and 30% less likely to die from heart disease (Tindle, et al., 2009).   Optimists also were also less likely to have high blood pressure or diabetes, or to smoke.

Optimists look at the bright side of most situations and are able to make lemonade out of lemons – a very useful skill in these current times!

Optimists see challenges as stepping stones to final positive solutions. Pessimists, on the other hand, see obstacles as permanent. That reinforces the other-directed personality—individuals who look for impediments to success and feel little control over their ability to make things happen.

If you are an optimist, you will find ways to re-frame your obstacles into something that can be positive in the long run.

The following excerpt and exercise is taken from our book ‘So You Think You Are Ready To Retire?’  but applies equally to people of any age or stage.

Consider these challenges and the optimist’s response:

Health: Optimists believe that they should do whatever they can to control their health. After that, they manage the transition to a new reality.

Relationships: Optimists avoid conflict and manage discord without creating animosity. Things that are harmful to relationships, such as gossip, jealousy or envy, are not part of an optimist’s personality.

Financial security: Optimists control what they can control and ignore the things that they can’t. As part of managing to create financial security, optimists plan for the things that they want to accomplish and protect themselves from things that may harm them.

Ageing: Optimists tend to see ageing as validating their human life and part of the natural course of things. Again, they control what they can control and accept the things they can’t.

Bereavement: Optimists understand that they cannot change what has happened. This doesn’t mean that they don’t grieve, but they also transition into their new reality with the view that “Today is the first day of the rest of my life.”

Retirement from work: Optimists may move from their previous jobs to seek a new experience or enter a new phase of their lives. They will often take the positives from their previous work lives and try to use that in their new lives.

This information is taken from our book ‘So You Think You Are Ready to Retire?’ written in conjunction with international Retirement Lifestyle Expert Barry LaValley – click here to order your free electronic copy of this book.

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