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Day 16 - The Power of Positivity: Your task today to stay positive no matter what challenge life throws at you!

Staying focused on your goal is very important. Even more important is staying positive. You cannot change the past, and you cannot always control the future, but you can make the most of each day and each moment. Today, your challenge is to forget past failures, erase any doubtful thoughts about the future, and focus on the next 24 hours with the best outlook you can! Not only will this optimism help you accomplish your goal, it will improve your health.

Can a positive outlook on life really increase your longevity, reduce your risk of illness, and even protect you from heart disease? Or, does the power of positivity end with a hearty chuckle? We’ve all heard that people who feel accomplished and content with their lives will live longer, but why? Where’s the proof? If the anecdotes you’ve always been told about “being happy to be healthy” have never had a positive effect on you, take a look at this research!

Dr. Laura Kubzansky is a professor at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and she has proven a strong relationship between our positivity (or lack thereof!) and heart health. She began by systematically reviewing the psychological well-being of 6,025 participants of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Dr. Kubzansky then followed up with participants for an average of 15 years to track their healthful behaviors, as well as their coronary health. The study found that people with high scores of well-being – individuals with a positive mindset – had a significantly lower risk of coronary heart disease than their counterparts with low scores of well-being.

So, you ask, “If I wasn’t born happy, how am I supposed to take any of this to heart?!” Well, Dr. Kubzansky corrected for participants whom regularly engaged in healthful behaviors, and the results still showed that developing a positive beat to life significantly reduced coronary heart disease risk!

Next time you’re feeling down, try and pinpoint the stresses you are feeling. Speak to your friends and family about your feelings; and, write down those stressors that really break your day apart. Then, when you’re feeling well, go back to what you’ve written and approach it with a fresh mind. You may just surprise yourself by finding a solution!

Dylan is the newest member of our St. Mary’s health coaching team. He holds a B.S. in Nutrition Science from the University of Nevada - Reno, where he did nutrition and chronic disease related research. Motivation and positive behavior changes are the biggest part of his approach to health coaching. Dylan believes a healthy mindset is the first step in developing a sustainable fitness program and he is here to help you maintain positive change!