3 Ways Appreciation Helps You Live Happier and Longer

By on 03/16/2016

Happy people live longer.

Sounds so much better than advice to ‘cut out this’ or ‘cut out that’ if you want to see your golden years!

Recent research reveals that it’s actually more effective to  live happier by concentrating on appreciating where you are in life, rather than worrying about what you should or shouldn’t do and instead.

Focus on the positive

There’s always something positive to witness and acknowledge, no matter what your life is like.

One of the most important, simplest (though not always easy) ways to grow your positive outlook is to appreciate the things you have, for the people who love you rather than focusing on what you don’t have and the people who don’t have your best interests at heart.

This isn’t about positive thinking. But positive focus.

Not focus as in staying on track. But what you consistently look at. If your focus is always on the negative things in life, then not only will you become more negative, but the emotions from that will lead to stress.

Of all of the situations you’ve been through, how many of them have lasted forever? None of them. So you can rest assured that there’s always good headed your way. Happiness isn’t defined by one simple definition.

Of course, what makes you happy might make someone else extremely upset or sad.

You can’t choose the events that come into your life. What you can choose is how you let them affect you.

3 Reasons Happy People Live Longer

1) Happy people live longer because they’ve learned the key to contentment is found within themselves.

Didn’t get the job they wanted?  They quickly get to the attitude that it wasn’t that they didn’t try, but rather that there’s always another opportunity down the road, and it may, just may, be an even better one.

Car broke down? Hard to think of this as a positive. But one of my sisters actually had this be a positive for her.

Her family and mine had met at a state half-way between where both of us lived so our similarly aged kids could spend part of their spring breaks’ together when they were younger (think mini-golf, parks,  children’s museum and lots of hotel swimming pool time, their favorite part). It was about a 500 mile drive for each of us. A lot of fun and great memories.Spring Break Cousins at the Park

When she, her husband and two kids were about two-thirds of their way back home, but still on the highway, all of a sudden their car started making a funny noise.

My sister pressed her hubby to pull over to check it out.

To be honest, I don’t remember what it was, but they did find ‘a little something’ that he was able to quickly make right enough for them to get back on the road.

But they didn’t get far, because there was now a back-up on the highway.

As they made their way slowly ahead, they finally passed the place that they would have gotten to quickly if they hadn’t pulled over, and there was a crash, involving a truck and a mini-van, which my sister remembered had been traveling up the highway nearish them before.

She’s a medical person who relies on facts largely.

But even she immediately felt that maybe their own mini-van had malfunctioned to prevent them from being in an accident had they kept traveling. Certainly, one example of a positive result of what might only be considered a negative event.

This is not about putting on a fake smile, or a fake spin on things.

But instead choose to turn a negative into a positive. Does this mean that people who are happy never experience failures? Never make mistakes?

Absolutely not! It means that they don’t let those experiences define who they are.

Failing at something doesn’t make you a failure. It’s simply life’s way of saying, ‘not this way.’

While your mood can fluctuate even from hour to hour, you can help stay positive by refusing to allow people or circumstances to define your happiness.

2) Happy people live longer by not giving control of their emotional well being over to another.

Sure, others can disappoint you – but that doesn’t mean that they can steal your happiness unless you allow them to.

It’s vital to remain focused on what brings you joy, not what they say takes theirs away.

3)Happy people also know that the key to happiness is going after goals.

Go after what you want in life like your life depends on it. It does!

Because part of the fun is just learning something new. And you won’t be great at everything.

While I’ve been a skier, a friend and I thought we’d give snowboarding a try–yes, even at an advancing age, you’d say.

But we went “one and done” with snowboarding (and back to skis) after a fun but painful day learning–spending a lot of time on the snow, rather than on our snowboards.

But we set the goal of at least trying it. Same for learning new kinds of cooking, a musical instrument, dancing, novel writing, paddle boarding or other activities.

BONUS: While you’re at it, don’t forget to take the time to appreciate others and reach out to others while you’re going after your new goals.

By acknowledging, encouraging and recognizing others, you get the additional better long-life boost through a sense of contribution and inner happiness from having helped someone else feel good about what they are learning, too.

YOU are brilliant!

Let’s hear what you think: Is there something you’ve appreciated that gives you a happier boost when you remember it?

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