Have you ever met someone who seems to always have things go their way? They just expect a positive outcome and in turn, they usually get it. Even when things don’t work out, they don’t fret and let it ruin their day. Your general outlook can steer you in a direction without you even knowing it! Did you know that your general outlook is actually a choice? The outlook you choose can serve you or enslave you. Which one will you choose? My suggestion, choose happiness. Happy people don’t kill people.
A positive attitude will help you live longer
A group of 180 nuns from Sisters of Notre Dame were asked to keep autobiographical journals about their everyday lives, outlining their time living in a convent. These women were all born before 1917 and remained Nuns for life. The journals were not set up for eventual scientific study, just as an outlet for these women, detailing their vocation.
Five decades later a team of researchers gained access to these journals and focused on coding the entries for positive emotional content. Their question: Could their level of how positive they were as young women predict how their lives turned out? The answer is yes. A positive outlook leads to a longer life.
The nuns with more joyful content lived nearly ten years longer than the Nuns with more negative or even neutral entries. At age 85, (Growing up, they all appeared to be at least 85 years old to me.) 90 percent of the happiest quartile were still alive. Compare this to just 34 percent of the least happy quartile still living.*
*Source: The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor
What can you do to be more positive?
Cognitive-behavioral therapists agree that many of these positive skills can be learned. Here are some skills that will help you, if you endeavor to adopt them.
Happiness is a choice; plain and simple. All of us have bad days but we get to choose how we act – and react – in these situations. If this isn’t easy for you, here are some steps you can try:
- Make a list – In the movie “The Ultimate life,” by Jim Stovall, they talk about the Golden List. For this exercise get a journal and write down 3 new things you are grateful for each day.
- Exercise – Exercising for 10 minutes a day. According to helpguide.org, physical activity or exercise is a natural and healthy way to induce a positive attitude.
- Meditate – Meditating for 2-3 minutes and practicing breathing in and out will help clear your mind of clutter. Research shows that you get multiple tasks done faster if you do them one at a time.
- Be Thankful – Write one quick email first thing in the morning thanking or praising a member on your team.
- Journal – Journal for 3 minutes a day on a positive experience you’ve had within the last 24 hours. This strategy can help transform you from a task-based thinker to a meaning-based thinker who looks for meaning instead of endless to-dos.
Make a case for your innocence!
In the movie Legally Blonde, Elle, played by Reese Witherspoon, is a bright young intern for a law firm that is representing a beautiful young heiress who is accused of killing her husband. In a meeting, Elle explains to her colleagues why she thinks the heiress is not guilty. She states “Brooke is a physical fitness instructor and exercising releases endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people don’t kill people.”
In The Journey Training, we believe that every moment is a choice. Every choice has a cost and a benefit. If your general outlook on life is a choice, think about what everyday choices you can make to help you stay in that happy state. Happy people don’t kill people. Choose happiness! Even if it seems ridiculous, statistics show that happy people live up to 10 years longer –and chances are you won’t kill anyone, either!