Optimists tend to live on average 11 to 15 percent longer than pessimists and have an excellent chance of achieving “exceptional longevity.” (MIT/Harvard)

Being optimistic or pessimistic is not just a psychological trait or interesting topic of conversation; it’s biologically relevant. Indeed, there is mounting evidence that optimism may serve as a powerful tool for preventing disease and promoting healthy aging.

People with an optimistic mindset are associated with various positive health indicators, particularly cardiovascular, but also pulmonary, metabolic, and immunologic. They have a lower incidence of age-related illnesses and reduced mortality levels. Optimism and pessimism are not arbitrary and elusive labels. On the contrary, they are mindsets that can be scientifically measured, placing an individual’s attitude on a spectrum ranging from optimistic to pessimistic. Framing the baseline of each subject in this way, researchers are able to verify the correlation between optimism level and relative health conditions.

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Now just imagine when you combine optimism and Rapamycin. :wink:

We’re going to break all the records here. :slight_smile:

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I’m reading a book called Hunt, Gather, Parent which talks about cultivating awe in children to help them manage undesired emotions such as anger.
The idea is that by taking breaks to experience awe at the everyday wonders (e.g. plants & other beautiful things) kids can learn to be able to move from an emotion they don’t want to one they do. If they practice when it’s easy, so one has the skill when it might be difficult.

I sometimes feel that people I know do about the exact opposite. They focus on things that are scary & get angry & depressed because they see such an unfulfilling world.

A book on parenting seems far removed from longevity, but I’m finding all sorts of stuff in it that I think I can apply to my relationships with adults too.

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For Rozanski, optimism, like a muscle, can be trained to become stronger through positivity and gratitude, in order to replace an irrational negative thought with a positive and more reasonable one.

Anyone have a recipe for how to cultivate positivity and gratitude on a daily basis?

I’ve never understood why people watch horror movies. Unless the plot is so stupid the movie is actually funny. I wonder if you can tell how long somebody will live by the movies they like.

The practice I do that creates thankfulness in me is by imagining the solar system. I put the most important aspect of my life as the Sun. Then the next at Mercury, then Venus and so on…

So for me, I have my spiritual life and God as the Sun. Then my health. Then my parents, wife and sons. Then my aunt,uncle, brother, sister, nieces, in-laws and nephews. After that is my house and possessions. Then my good friends. Finally my job. I feel pretty good at that point and am thankful for everything I just focused on.

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One very quick exercise I’ve heard people swear by is to before going to sleep just

List three things (small or big) that you are thankful for

Something might keep coming back each night, something might move around and be just that one night depending on your day

Take less than 30 secs

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I think it’s worth asking if optimism is a cause or an effect. That is, are these people optimistic because they do practices to cultivate that more optimistic mindset, such as mentioned here? Or are they optimistic because they are metabolically wired to be, and the longevity effect is one of the outcomes of that wiring?

When I started effective methylation cycle supplementation after years (or a lifetime) of damaging impairment, my mood changed dramatically. I KNOW how much biochemistry can affect perspective.

Yes, how we conceptualize ourselves and the world can move the optimism-resilience needle, for sure. I have training in these techniques, and I use them professionally.

At the same time, I also know how much biochemistry affects optimism-resilience.

I hesitate to ascribe causality too casually here. We need to look for (be open to) multiple causes and inputs.

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Diet and exercise unquestionably affect mindset. But mental factors can also affect the body, as the article noted:

the damage produced by pessimism is also biological: The continuous wear and tear caused by elevated stress hormones like cortisol and noradrenaline leads to heightened levels of body inflammation and promotes the onset of disease. Moreover pathological pessimism can lead to depression, considered by the American Heart Association as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

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Bah, humbug…just the placebo effect…if you think it’s gonna work, it does.
N=1, I tried it…just made me sick! Never do that again!

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I have read in some psychology texts that one of the best and most scientifically validated means of improving happiness and general mental health is a gratitude journal. Let me see if I can dig up the scientific papers referring to this, but in the mean time, here are some good resources for gratitude journaling:

https://www.calm.com/blog/gratitude-journal

Ah - this has references to many of the scientific studies on gratitude and gratitude journaling:

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