Monday, November 8, 2010

Optimism May Save Your Life

- by Jaime Willis

"It's Impossible," said Pride.
"It's Risky," said Experience.
"It's Pointless," said Reason.
"Give it a try," whispered the Heart.

I've spent the last week in a bit of an emotional upheaval. I called my Grandma on Wednesday evening to chat, only to find out that my Grandfather's health had taken a turn for the worse. Grandpa's cancer was back with a vengeance and his oncologist told the family there was nothing more Grandpa could do but to go home "and wait." Instead of blindly accepting a death sentence, the whole family went into "Get 'er Done" mode. This past Friday, after a squeezed-in appointment with a world-renowned cancer doctor twelve and half hours away from my Grandparent's home, Grandpa was given a new medical regimen with a 70% success rate! While Grandpa is not yet out of the woods, it is incredibly encouraging to learn that there is a viable treatment available!

Other than providing Grandpa with a fantastic medical treatment, the Doctor shared with us another secret to all of our health.

Be Optimistic.

It's that simple. In a 2004 Dutch study, almost one thousand 65 - 85 year olds were tested to determine their relative levels of optimism (vs. pessimism). Then these patients were tracked for ten years, in which time 397 of the 941 patients died. What is fascinating about the study is that the pessimists died at almost double the rate of the optimists! This study has been repeated several times, with similar results. Researchers are still unsure why optimists fare better in life, but it's a fact that optimists live longer lives.

Pessimists not only see the glass as half-empty, but also spend a lot of their time worrying about what bad thing is coming their way next, so they don't really even enjoy life when it is going well. Optimists, on the other hand, live happily through the good times, and remain uplifted during the tough times by believing that there is an answer or a way through their problems.

Here is proof positive that priming yourself to succeed is not only helpful for goal-setting, but may be life-saving!

So, what do you have to be happy about today? Leave us a note or a story in the comment section below.

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