Food for Thought: Make a Habit of Looking for the Positive

By Celia Lambert, PhDfood_for_thought_logo

Three psychologists at the University of Kentucky were conducting a large study on aging and Alzheimer’s disease. Researching personal letters, the psychologists scored them for positive emotional content, recording instances of happiness, interest, love and hope. What they found was that those people who expressed the most positive emotions lived up to 10 years longer than those who expressed the fewest.

This gain in life expectancy is considerably larger than the gain achieved by those who quit smoking.

A newer branch of psychological science, known as positive psychology began about eighteen years ago as the brainchild of Martin E. P. Seligman, then president of the American Psychological Association (APA)

We have proof that people who think positively and feel good actually live longer. We have further proof that when people feel good, their thinking becomes more creative, integrative, flexible and open to information.

Cultivating “feeling good” can transform people in positive ways, making them more optimistic, resilient and socially connected.

Being helpful not only begins with a positive emotion it also produces positive emotions.

People who feel good are more likely to initiate compassionate acts and become more helpful to others. This can create an organic pay it forward movement. Being helpful or just plain friendly produces positive emotions. People who give feel pride about their good deed and therefore experience continued positive emotions. People on the receiving end of the “feel good giving” feel grateful or special AND those who just witness the act can feel elevated.

Each are positive emotions and each (pride, gratitude and elevation) can further inspire compassionate acts. So, by creating chains of events that carry positive meaning for others, this will uplift ourselves and our community.

Make a habit of looking for the positive in people or a situation: the silver lining in the cloud, your longevity may depend on it!

Celia Lambert, PhD is an Author, Speaker and Personal Growth Coach. Celia works with clients to improve many aspects of their lives specializing in eating disorders, anxiety, depression and relationship challenges.

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