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Positivity Creates Longevity

Please, be kind to my friend. Yes, I am talking to you.😊 My New Year’s wish is for you to stay positive, practicing love, compassion for yourself and others, so that you will therefore reap the benefits of optimal health and longevity!

The new year always brings forth new revelations, a renewed promise to yourself for a fresh beginning, new patterns and healthier habits. Of course, we all like the sound of this, yet even with the best intentions, after a few months if our new patterns aren’t solidified we start to slip and regress, then the dreaded happens, we start to beat ourselves up over the promises we could not keep. You might find yourself saying, “I have no self-control”, “If I was just stronger, I could have done such and such better”. This is unfortunately a time when the Law of Attraction starts to push back on you, and I am sure this is not the direction you want to go in life.

The Law of Attraction is a Universal Law which is widely accepted by not only spiritual leaders from all beliefs, but also from scientist, researchers, and quantum physicists alike. Simply put, the Law of Attraction says that you will attract into your life whatever you focus on. Wherever you give your energy and attention, it will come back to you.

So, if you stay focused on positivity, you will automatically attract more positive things into your life. If you are focused upon lack and negativity, then that is what will be attracted into your life.

I am taking this month as an opportunity to renew my commitment to a daily gratitude practice. I’ve mentioned this before my Newsletters but wanted to remind all of you how powerful this practice can be. I use a tool called The Magic, which is a book by Rhonda Byrne since it was gifted to me by a friend, but there are many tools out there. One example of a positive, magical practice is to simply write 10 things you’re grateful for every day, and then each day for 28 days add 10 more things. You will be amazed at not only how good you feel, but how much you are given in this life and how much you do have to be grateful for in return! I too need a reminder to stay positive no matter what is going on with my health and the world around me. It’s a daily choice and I choose love and light. I hope you do too! There continues to be more emerging evidence from researchers studying the Law of Attraction and positivity. Not only does positivity help you feel better but, it has proven health benefits too.

Barbara L. Fredrickson and her team in 2004 developed a “broaden and build theory of positive emotions” where she describes the form and function of a subset of positive emotions, including joy, interest, contentment, and love. Fredrickson refers to this as the “broaden and build” theory because positive emotions broaden your sense of possibilities and open your mind, which in turn allows you to build new skills and resources that can provide value in other areas of your life. A key finding was that positive emotions broaden an individual’s momentary thought–action repertoire: joy sparks the urge to play, interest sparks the urge to explore, contentment sparks the urge to savor and integrate, and love sparks a recurring cycle of each of these urges within safe, close relationships. Creating close, personal relationships compounds over time, which create social and psychological resources, which function as a reserve that can be drawn on later to improve the odds of successful coping and survival. In short, her findings show that positive emotions fuel human flourishing. Flourishing describes a state of optimal human functioning, one that simultaneously implies growth and longevity, beauty and goodness, robustness and resilience, and creativity and complexity. Conversely, if your brain closes off from the outside world and focuses on the negative emotions of fear, anger, and stress; these negative emotions prevent your brain from seeing the other options and choices that surround you. It's your survival instinct.

In other words, when you are experiencing positive emotions like joy, contentment, and love, you will see more possibilities in your life. These findings were among the first that proved that positive emotions broaden your sense of possibility and open your mind up to more options. The benefits of positive thoughts don't stop after a few minutes of good feelings subside. In fact, the biggest benefit that positive thoughts provide is an enhanced ability to build skills and develop resources for use later in life.

There was a study of 180 Catholic nuns who pledged their lives not only to God but, also to science. As part of a larger study of aging and Alzheimer’s disease, these nuns agreed to give scientists access to their archived work and medical records (they also donated their brains at death). The work archives included autobiographies hand written when the nuns were in their early twenties. Researchers scored these essays for emotional content, recording instances of positive emotions; like happiness, interest, love, and hope, as well as negative emotions; like sadness, fear, and disinterest. A strong association was found between positive emotional content and mortality for these nuns as those nuns who expressed the most positive emotions lived on average 10 years longer than those who expressed the least positive emotions (Danner et al. 2001).

A study from Johns Hopkins expert Lisa R. Yanek, M.P.H., and her colleagues found that positive well-being was associated with significant reduction of Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) and incidents associated with CAD, along with the biggest reduction seen in, at risk populations (see link below for study and statistics). A University of Kansas study found that smiling, even fake smiling reduces heart rate and blood pressure during stressful situations.Additional studies have found that a positive attitude improves outcomes and life satisfaction across a spectrum of conditions, including traumatic brain injury, stroke and brain tumors. Researchers suspect that people who are more positive may be better protected against the inflammatory damage of stress. They believe that hope and positivity help people make better health and life decisions and focus more on long-term goals. Researchers continue to explore the effects of positive thinking and optimism on health. Health benefits that positive thinking may provide include: Lower rates of depression Lower levels of distress Reduced risk of Diabetes Greater resistance to the common cold and other stress induced illnesses Better psychological and physical well-being Better cardiovascular health and reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress Increased life span Conversely, studies find that negative emotions can weaken immune response, increase disease processes and shorten your life span. Common forms of negative emotions and self-talk include: Filtering: You magnify the negative aspects of a situation and filter out all the positive ones. Personalizing: When something bad occurs, you automatically blame yourself. Castastrophizing: You automatically anticipate the worst. Polarizing: You see things only as either good or bad. There is no middle ground. You feel that you must be perfect or you're a total failure. So, how can you start to change from negative emotions to positive ones? It can start with positive self-talk.

Identify areas to change: If you want to become more optimistic and engage in more positive thinking, first identify areas of your life that you usually think negatively about and start small by focusing on one area to approach in a more positive way.

Check yourself: Periodically during the day, stop and evaluate what you're thinking. If you find that your thoughts are mainly negative, try to find a way to put a positive spin on them. Be open to humor: Give yourself permission to smile or laugh, especially during difficult times. Seek humor in everyday happenings. When you can laugh at life, you feel less stressed.

Follow a healthy lifestyle: Aim to exercise for about 30 minutes on most days of the week. You can also break it up into 10-minute chunks of time during the day. Exercise can positively affect mood and reduce stress. Follow a healthy diet to fuel your mind and body. And learn techniques to manage stress. Surround yourself with positive people: Make sure those in your life are positive, supportive people you can depend on to give helpful advice and feedback. Negative people may increase your stress level and make you doubt your ability to manage stress in healthy ways.

Practice positive self-talk: Start by following one simple rule: Don't say anything to yourself that you wouldn't say to anyone else. Be gentle and encouraging with yourself. If a negative thought enters your mind, evaluate it rationally and respond with affirmations of what is good about you. Think about things you're thankful for in your life.

Three areas studied to support positivity and health include; meditation, writing, and play. People who meditate daily display more positive emotions than those who do not. They also display increased mindfulness, purpose in life, social support, and decreased illness symptoms. Writing has been studied in the Journal of Research in Personality, which examined a group of 90 undergraduate students who were split into two groups. The first group wrote about an intensely positive experience each day for three consecutive days. The second group wrote about a control topic. Three months later, the students who wrote about positive experiences had better mood levels, fewer visits to the health center, and experienced fewer illnesses (in just 3 days!).

If you tend to have a negative outlook, don't expect to become an optimist overnight. But with practice, eventually your self-talk will contain less self-criticism and more self-acceptance. You may also become less critical of the world around you. When your state of mind is generally optimistic, you're better able to handle everyday stress in a more constructive way. Also, every day, practice your gratitude and ask the Universe for what you want in your life. It’s a give and take relationship. Give gratitude and receive abundance! And find more Play in your life! The benefits are limitless! I want you to see it, feel into it, and believe it’s already happening for you! If you do these things, your desires will be yours!

With these proven benefits of positivity in health, my challenge for you in this New Year is to be kind to yourself and stay in the positive, as you will be rewarded!

Please practice saying: “I can do this”, and you will do it! “I deserve happiness” and you will be happy! “I am healthy” and you will have health!

By practicing positivity and gratitude every day, we will have an amazing 2020 together!

In deep gratitude for all of you, Carrie

“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you will start having positive results” -Willie Nelson

Studies and links Positivity and mortality Yanek Study Positive Writing and health benefits Fredrickson’s article link Other Studies Optimism. Clinical Psychology Review. 2010;30:879. Optimism and cardiovascular health: Multi-ethnic study of atherosclerosis (MESA). Health Behavior and Policy Review. 2015;2:62. Applebaum AJ, et al. Optimism, social support, and mental health outcomes in patients with advanced cancer. Psycho-oncology. 2014;23:299. Seaward BL. Reframing: Creating a positive mind-set. In: Essentials of Managing Stress. 4th ed. Burlington, Mass.: Jones & Bartlett Learning; 2017. Seaward BL. Managing Stress: Principles and Strategies for Health and Well-Being. 8th ed. Burlington, Mass.: Jones & Bartlett Learning; 2015. Karren KJ, et al. Mind/Body Health: The Effects of Attitudes, Emotions, and Relationships. 5th ed. Glenview, Ill.: Pearson Education; 2014. Sood A. The Mayo Clinic Guide to Stress-Free Living. Cambridge, Mass.: Da Capo Press/Lifelong Books; 2013. Cohen S, et al. Positive emotional style predicts resistance to illness after experimental exposure to rhinovirus or influenza a virus. Psychosomatic Medicine. 2006;68:809. 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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