How to Guarantee A Happy New Year

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Filed Under: General Health
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

The simple act of smiling can improve your outlook and your health.As the ball drops in Times Square this New Year’s Eve, you can ensure an even brighter new year with one simple secret—think like an optimist.

Like nutritious food, pure water, and exercise, a positive outlook on life keeps you healthy. Though scientists aren't sure exactly how optimism promotes good health, they suspect it has to do with the effects of your mental outlook on immune function.

An entire field of medicine called psychoneuroimmunology has been created to study the effects of your thoughts and emotions on immunity, and the findings are compelling. From laughter to tears, from friendship to romantic love, your emotions and attitudes all have a bearing on promoting good health.

Optimism is a skill, one we can all acquire (or get even better at)—here’s how:

  • Count your blessings. While pessimists tend to focus on what is wrong with their lives, optimists are more likely to count their blessings. 
  • Smile. Studies have shown that you can actually "change your mind" by changing your body language. Smiling on the outside will send a message to your brain, which will "assume" that you're happy. 
  • Walk tall and meet people's glances. Like smiling, this simple act will "tell" your brain that you are confident and upbeat. The positive responses you get from others will reinforce that, improving your optimism.

This one simple change in perspective can profoundly enhance your emotional and physical well-being.

Now it’s your turn: Are you an optimist?

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