I went to see a workshop presented by Nick Hall who is Director of Center for Psychoneuroimmunology at the University of South Florida. And he was talking about the immune system—the mind-body connection—who gets sick and who stays well. I'm not going to bore you with all the particulars about the immune system and the different cells. But I do want to tell you some interesting things that I found that would be wonderful information to pass on to you.
The first one is that he was talking about some longevity studies and about who do you think lives longer and stays healthier. And I thought, "Well, I know that. It's good nutrition, positive attitude, exercise, sleep." Well, when he gave us the answers that showed up in the study, it was actually none of those things! Well, not exactly. Not that those things are not important—and we will find down the line that those are important.
But the things that came up in the study, the first one, was a sense of control…meaning that the person could control their own emotions. They could act appropriately in response to emotion. They could understand the emotional or get a sense about what's going on emotionally with the other person. They had what they call emotional intelligence.
The second factor affecting longevity and health was the ability to predict. He brought up the fact that the only emotion that we have that's associated with the future is fear. The fear of the unknown stops more people than probably any other aspect in a person's life. Because, really, the truth is…you can predict, to a certain degree, the more knowledge that you have. Also, the more open-minded you are, the more you can listen to all the viewpoints surrounding an area before you formulate your own conclusion. So really, you can develop the ability to predict more accurately.
The third thing that affected the longevity and health in the people of the study was positive thinking—optimism. We are not the person looking at the world through the rose-colored glasses, where they are in a form of denial and actually distort reality to see just see the positive in everything. But, the person that lived longest was the one that could look at life realistically and realize there are good things and bad things that happen. When a bad thing happened, they could focus on how to resolve it. They also recognize that bad things—and even good things—are not permanent…that all things pass and change and there's an ebb and flow of life. They realize that all things that happen are only temporary. Even if it's a major setback, it does not have to have permanent consequences.
In summary, the three things that affected the longevity of the people in the study were predictability, control, and optimism. So, work on those in yourself and see if that doesn't make a difference.
Author: Debra Kahnen, RN, ND, is the CEO of Life Mastery LLC. With over three decades of healthcare experience—as both a nursing leader in the largest not-for-profit health system in Texas and as a naturopath focusing on wellness—her view is radically different. Debra is a renowned expert in stress management and wellness. She helps people improve their health and emotional well-being to allow for more peace, joy, and personal satisfaction. Get a free special short video eCourse, "Take back control of your life NOW!”, so you can experience more balance and ease in your life.