Pollyanna was Right
A recent NY Times article discusses the connection between brain and body and several studies have demonstrated that having a positive view of aging can have a beneficial influence on health outcomes and longevity.
Judith T. Moskowitz, a professor of medical social sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, developed a set of eight skills to help foster positive emotions.
The eight skills are:
Recognize a positive event each day.
Savor that event and log it in a journal or tell someone about it.
Start a daily gratitude journal.
List a personal strength and note how you used it.
Set an attainable goal and note your progress.
Report a relatively minor stress and list ways to reappraise the event positively.
Recognize and practice small acts of kindness daily.
Practice mindfulness, focusing on the here and now rather than the past or future.
Becca Levy and Avni Bavishi, at the Yale School of Public Health, demonstrated that having a positive view of aging can have a beneficial influence on health outcomes and longevity. Dr. Levy said that a positive view can enhance belief in one’s abilities, decrease perceived stress and foster healthful behaviors. Physiologically, people with positive views of aging had lower levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of stress-related inflammation associated with heart disease and other illnesses, even after accounting for possible influences like age, health status, sex, race and education than those with a negative outlook. They also lived significantly longer.