Optimism and kindness are key factors that can help you live to 100. In the book Growing Young: How Friendship, Optimism, and Kindness Can Help You Live to 100, Marta Zaraska reported that social connections are key contributors in lowering mortality risk by 45 to 65 percent.
This past year has not been good for our social interactions
We have been sequestered for over a year, which has significantly impacted our socialization with others. It’s no wonder that people are suffering. With the lack of personal interaction, many of us turned to Facebook, Zoom email, Instagram and other methods of remaining socially active with friends and loved ones. It was better than nothing, but still not the same.
Combine the mindset of optimism and kindness (or as Zaraska refers to it as soft health drivers) with healthy eating and exercise and you have the trifecta for an excellent opportunity to improve your healthspan. When you feel good and are optimistic you feel like you want to move more and eat better, thus you improve your life!
When you are optimistic, it changes your physiology
These improvements provide a positive effect on your body’s physiology. According to Zaraska there appears to be a connection that the feel-good chemicals (oxytocin and serotonin) work on diminishing stress and inflammation. Notice, no drugs are part of this equation. Often, we look for the quick fix, but having a good outlook on life, eat healthy foods and move more are the key to long term wellness and are definitely in our control.
The three things you can do
What can you do to get the trifecta of good health?
- Schedule time for the things that make you feel good and nourish your mind and soul.
- Move more, even one or two minutes a day. You can go to my FREE Resources page to learn how you can get stronger and have better balance in under five minutes each day. You can also check out my information under CLASSES to see some hints on how to start small with Tiny Habits®.
- Improve your eating. Maybe just start with one meal and make good food choices at that one meal. We often feel it is an all or nothing proposition, but you can just begin with one meal and build, that’s a start.
In Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper this past week (March 21, 2021) she higlighted optimism and the soft health drivers in a way that I could not do. She talked about a friend who brought two bowls and a bag of marbles. The marbles signified the number of weeks Maria would statistically live. You can do your own math.
Maria took this gift and broke it down into days instead of a week. Each day she felt that her day was marble worthy she placed the marble into the jar. She did not measure marble worthy by productivity or getting things done, but rather feeling with heart and being present in life. As Maria stated so eloquently, “Today is my lifetime. I get to decide whether it is going to be a marble-worthy day or not. I get to feel my way into it.” I could not say it better.
Comment below or just reflect on how marble worthy your days are, your life might depend on it.
Maria Shriver, Sunday Paper, March 21, 2021
Advancing Social Connection as a Public Health Priority in the United States
Loneliness is at epidemic levels in the US.