I loved reading this brief article last year, which told about research showing staying optimistic and maintaining a positive outlook can directly extend the length of your life.

The 30-year study followed 1,200 elderly people who were born in 1920 or 1921. The researchers analyzed their health, ability to function, economic well-being, social skills, anxiety level, integrity, and optimism the researchers said they have determined a direct link between a positive outlook and a longer life.

“Optimism doesn’t have to be viewed as a trait we’re born with, but one that we can develop,” one researcher said.

This article: How to Be More Optimistic, can help. It’s actually written for teens. I like that, because articles written for younger people are often written more clearly.

From the article, here are some things to try:

  • Notice good things as they happen. At the end of the day, take 10 minutes to run through your day and come up with things that you’re grateful for. Write them down in a journal or keep track using a motivational app on your phone or tablet.
  • Train your mind to believe you can make good things happen in your life. Get in a habit of telling yourself specific things you can do to succeed. For example: “If I study, I can get a better grade.”… “If I go on that volunteer trip, I’ll meet new friends.”
  • Don’t blame yourself when things go wrong…Instead of thinking, “I failed that math test because I’m terrible at math,” tell yourself: “I failed that test because I didn’t study enough. I won’t let that happen next time!”
  • When something good happens, give yourself credit. Think of what you did to make a good outcome possible. Did you prepare for the test? Practice with dedication? Think of the strengths you used and how they helped you succeed.
  • Remind yourself that setbacks are temporary. As soon as something goes wrong, remind yourself that it will pass — and come up with a plan for making that happen. For example: “My SAT results aren’t what I hoped, but I can study more and take the test again.”

The piece ends with this important, encouraging point: It can take a little while, so don’t feel discouraged.

All my best,