Why you should be optimistic and 3 ways to do it

Many people believe that being optimistic elevates your mood. Dr. Richa Sood, a Mayo Clinic general internist, agrees, but the benefits don’t stop there. She says research shows optimism also may boost your general health.

Optimistic people have a positive outlook on life, and they tend to be healthier than their pessimistic peers, according to Dr. Sood.

“If you look at the connection of optimism to what the body does when we have positive emotions, it kind of makes sense.”

Dr. Sood says optimistic people are less chronically stressed out, which helps reduce your risk of heart disease, some cancers and depression. She suggests three ways you can be more optimistic.

“So first thing is to want to do it.”

Reach out to people who are also optimistic, or talk to your health care provider.

“No. 2 is to have an ability to do a zoom-in versus zoom-out philosophy. So when the problems are overwhelming, it’s a good idea to zoom out and say, OK, there’s a perspective,” says Dr. Sood.

Look at the big picture. Think of what you are thankful for and that life as a whole is good.

“The other big one is to be intentional,” says Dr. Sood.

Live in and concentrate on the moment. Don’t ruminate about the past or worry about what happens in an hour. Dr. Sood says it’s important to your health to reduce chronic stress.

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