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Thinking Positively to Improve Healthspan and ROL Thumbnail

Thinking Positively to Improve Healthspan and ROL

There's real power in learning to embrace positive thinking. A growing body of research suggests that positivity can boost mental well-being, improve physical health, and help us succeed with career and life goals. A team at Johns Hopkins University even found that people with a positive outlook were one-third less likely to suffer a heart attack or other cardiovascular problems.


Try to incorporate these three mind hacks into your daily wellness routine to improve your perspective and your Return on Life.


  1. Reframe.


When you're stuck in the middle of a frustrating situation, you probably don't want to hear about doors closing, windows opening, or turning lemons into lemonade. But approaching challenges from a slightly more positive perspective can help you appreciate the potential of every moment. Rather than being scared or intimidated by a new experience, focus on what you can learn even if you fail. As tired as new parents may be when that baby cries at 2AM, those extra chances for family bonding are precious and will fly by if you don't seize them. There's nothing you can do about the traffic jam that's making you late for a big meeting. But instead of stewing at other drivers, you could run through your presentation in your head a few extra times. You'll still be late, but you might be better prepared; you might even come up with a few improvements that impress the rest of your team and transform the project at hand.


  1. Build resiliency.


Positivity takes practice if you're someone who has trouble looking on the bright side. Acknowledging that you have work on being more positive is an essential first step. From there, you can start to become more aware of the thought patterns and physical ticks that manifest when you're thinking too negatively. Take stock of your thoughts during the day and assign them a value: positive, negative, and neutral. If you slip into negative, try to shift gears and focus on what you can control in a positive way. Embrace good-natured humor wherever and whenever you can, even if that means chuckling at yourself after making a mistake. And finally, try to be a little kinder to yourself. That voice in the back of your head that's constantly criticizing and listing your faults can be hard to silence if you let it run wild. Unclench your jaw, loosen your shoulders, and give yourself the pat on the back you deserve as you work through your daily to-do list. Some researchers have even found that just the physical act of smiling -- even if you're not happy -- can lower your blood pressure, boost your immune system, and improve your mood. 


  1. Maintain positive relationships.


Another positive thing about smiling: it's contagious, especially if you make a habit of surrounding yourself with other positive people who bring out your best. If your coworkers spend too much of their days grumbling about the boss, find a new lunch buddy. Get those doom-and-gloomers out of your social media feeds -- even if you're related to a few of them. Enlist a spouse, friend, or family member to hold you accountable to a new exercise routine or the online classwork you need to complete to make a major job transition. Mix mood-enhancing physical activity into your social life with team sports, long walks, cycling, camping, or game nights. Get into the habit of sending birthday cards or calling up friends and relatives more often just to say hi. Send out positivity to the people you care about and you’ll be amazed at how much positivity will come back to you.


If you’re feeling down about your money, make an appointment to visit our offices and work through our Life-Centered Financial Planning tools. We can help you identify areas where a little more positivity and some expert planning can make a big difference.