Can A Positive Attitude Help You Live Longer?

Many successful people credit their achievements to hard work and a positive mindset. However, do you know that keeping a positive attitude can actually help increase your longevity and the odds of survival, especially during precarious times or dangerous scenarios?  

Survival is a state of mind that depends on your ability to withstand and manage stressful situations. In an emergency, your brain is the best survival tool you have. The goal is for you to develop the mindset of being capable of handling fear, consciously determining your reaction, and then adapting to the situation you are in. A positive attitude plays a huge role in your survival – which provides you with the motivation necessary to ensure survival.  

A positive mental attitude can also combat unconscious stress, which allows for clearer thinking and better decision-making. When you actively manage your stress response, you are able to make decisions based on reasoning rather than fear and its fight-or-flight response. Faced with an ongoing dangerous situation, you can choose to calm your stress response by staying busy (by keeping your mind occupied), repeating words of positive affirmation to yourself, taking care to not blame yourself for the situation you are in. Then you are more likely to be able to recognize and address negative emotions.  

However, this positive survival mindset does not only apply to disaster scenarios. In your regular life situations, a positive mental attitude can still help combat stress to keep you healthy and thriving. When the body is not stressed, your mind can begin to think more clearly, allowing for more creativity and innovation. Additionally, the negative health benefits that come from stress (including higher blood pressure, development of ulcers, increased risk of heart attack, etc.) are heavily minimized when you actively work to keep a positive mental attitude.  

Do you tend to be a bit negative at times? You can improve your attitude in dozens of ways. Regular exercise and a healthy diet are always a good start, but practicing meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises can also help to improve your mental state. Additionally, be sure that you take time to relax, reconnect with friends and family, or go for a walk to help clear your mind – your deepest enjoyment of life may depend on it! 

Resources

  1. Conger, Cristen. “How Does Your Brain Impact Your Survival Chances in the Wilderness?” HowStuffWorks Science, HowStuffWorks, 27 Jan. 2020, science.howstuffworks.com/life/inside-the-mind/human-brain/survival-psychology2.htm. 
  2. “Why Positivity, Hope and Optimism Are Tools for Survival.” Guideposts, 12 Feb. 2020, www.guideposts.org/better-living/life-advice/why-positivity-hope-and-optimism-are-tools-for-survival.