So which is it? Do you walk through life with your proverbial glass half full or half empty? The way you answer may have more implications for your health, wealth and happiness than you realize.

For researchers, scientists and the rest of us, it’s not really a mystery anymore that the effects of positive thinking are powerful, and your attitude about yourself impacts every aspect of your life. In fact, there have been studies to prove it.

Here are some of the side-effects of positive thinking.

1. Live Longer

Yep, the optimists, by and large, live longer than your average pessimist.

2. Experience Less Depression

Optimists (and this may be obvious) have lower rates of depression.

3. Better stress management

An upbeat attitude easily beats the stress of distress down into itty-bitty chunks.

4. Greater health

Now this one might surprise you. Did you know optimists show a higher resistance to the common cold? They also have a lower risk of death from heart disease

Researchers don’t know exactly why positive thinking folks enjoy these health benefits. (In other words, they can’t measure it with their scientific tools). But like any good researcher, they do have their theories. One of them that seems pretty obvious is that an optimistic attitude helps you cope with stress, which of course, helps your body.

Generally speaking, optimists also tend to live more health-friendly lives with better diet, more exercise and fewer bad habits like drinking and smoking.

So if you’re feeling more like a pessimist than an optimist these days, what can you do?

Optimism Here We Come!

Just because you’ve got some negative stuff going on doesn’t mean you’re destined for bad health and misery–as long as you’re willing to change. Here are a few ways to start turning your negative outlook into a positive one.

  • Pay Attention. Every day, throughout the day, take a few minutes to observe what you’re thinking about. Then spin any negative thinking to a positive one.
  • Laugh. Look for any opportunity to laugh or muse over something in your life.
  • Health is Wealth. No doubt about it – if you exercise regularly and eat some healthy food, you will feel better. These things give your mind and body connection fuel which help you manage stress.
  • Make Happy Friends. When you surround yourself with pessimists, you’ve written a negativity ticket. If you want to shift to happiness, then make sure the peeps around you are supportive, optimistic and feel a personal power in their lives.
  • Watch Your Mouth. When it comes to the silent, self-talk that happens in your head, here’s a good rule of thumb: If you wouldn’t say it to someone else, don’t say it to yourself. When negative thoughts come to mind, (and they will – especially if you have lots of practice) disconnect and rephrase it positively.
Kris Connell

Kris Connell is a former athlete and passionate writer. An idealist, he seeks self-improvement and development in all areas of my life. He writes about things that matter and can affect the lives of others.