Do you look forward to the next week? Do you feel younger than your age? Do you have a sense of purpose? If so, you may already have done something to reduce your risk of degenerative diseases and may even be adding years to your life.
Our view of life is often determined by our perception of circumstances. Now there is a scientific reason why we should practice the art of contentment and choosing to be energetic and happy – A 35% lower chance of dying.
Older people have a 35% lower chance of dying if they are content, excited or happy during their typical day. This was true even after taking into account such factors as a person’s financial situation, physical health, mental health, chronic disease, physical activity, alcohol intake, depression and age according to the National Academies of Sciences.
Don’t dwell on your age. A growing body of research indicates that people who say they feel younger than their calendar years tend to live longer. A British study of 6,500 people with an average age of 65 found that those who said they felt older than their age had a 41% greater risk of dying in the next eight years compared with people who felt younger than their actual age. And when you do think about aging, valuing the positive aspects, like wisdom, experience, and emotional maturity, may add years to your life. In 2000 a team of researchers analyzed data from the Ohio Longitudinal Study of Aging and Retirement. They found that men and women who had expressed positive views of aging 23 years earlier had lived an average of 7.5 years longer than those with negative attitudes.
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This does not mean that we ignore the circumstances – whether they be financial hardships, our health or mental state – but we need to keep our lives in perspective. Choose contentment and happiness in the midst of life’s challenges and live a longer, more fulfilling life.
Many of you have read this before, but reflect on these wise words from noted author and pastor, Chuck Swindoll:
“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes.”