Do you want to live longer? This is how..

I always knew attitude was important. That’s why it’s been a part of almost every one of the 3000 presentations I’ve delivered.

But now I’m learning that your attitude may be a matter of life and death. No kidding. Mom was right when she told you to “cheer up.”

For your own good, you need to know the following:

►1. Your attitude is a critical factor in determining your longevity.

Two longevity researchers in Georgia, for example, have been studying people who lead active lives beyond the age of 100. Without exception, these one-hundred “plussers” have:

  • a compelling interest that keeps them active,
  • an unusual capacity for coping with loss (because they have outlived their spouses, siblings, and children), and
  • a positive attitude about life.

As I read the study, I thought their third characteristic, having “a positive attitude about life” was somewhat vague. I wondered what that meant.

So I did a bit more digging. The researchers said their subjects “embraced life as potentially wonderful” and it was “their duty to discover and expand what was good” about it.

Using their definition, do you have a positive attitude about life? Do you embrace life as potentially wonderful? Or are you more likely to say such things as “Another day, another dollar… or… If I didn’t have bad luck, I wouldn’t have any luck at all… or… How much longer do I have to put up with all this cr_p?”

Your answer will affect your longevity.

And using their definition, do you see it as your duty to discover and expand on the good around you? Or are you more likely to think, “That’s not my job… or… It’s good enough… or… We’re getting by, so why bother to fix it or improve upon it?”

Again, your answer will affect your longevity. So don’t dismiss the research or my comments as some head-in-the-clouds, positive thinking nonsense. Your attitude makes a HUGE difference in your longevity.

Take this to heart. Your attitude about life is more important than your age in life.

Dr. Kenneth Pelletier, an international expert on longevity and a professor of internal medicine at the University of California — San Francisco Medical School, says the latest scientific research shows that humans have the biological potential to live 120 years. When it comes to longevity, he says that your attitude plays a bigger role than your genetics or age. In fact, Pelletier says it is attitude that makes the major difference between those who look and act younger than their age and those who look and act old.

► 2. Your attitude is a critical factor in staying young.

According to Dr. Pelletier, the key to staying young is your “aging set point.” And your set point is governed by how old you think you are and by what you consider to be middle age.

People who believe 40 is middle age send signals to their bodies to begin a decline. Such people seldom live beyond 70 and never beyond 80. If, however, you live and behave as if 60 is middle age (one-half of your 120-year potential), you forestall the aging process. You’re telling your body that there are a lot of young years ahead.

Pelletier is right. I’ve seen it to be the case over and over again. One of my best friends — actually my hiking and biking buddy — is 88 years of age. But he looks, acts, and thinks at least 20 years younger than that. And one of my relatives, in her 50’s, is actually checking out nursing homes because she believes she’ll need one soon. No wonder she looks, acts, and thinks like someone who is over the hill.

So I’m cautioning you. Watch your attitude. Be careful about the thoughts you hold in your head.

Of course, people will challenge me and say, “I can’t help the way I feel. That’s just the way I am.” To that, I say, “WRONG. You’re the victim of a myth.”

You may not think you can change the way you feel. You may not think you can change your attitude. But that’s all it is — an erroneous thought. More likely, you’ve never been taught how to change your attitude.

What about you? Are you satisfied with your attitude? Is it as strong and positive as you’d like it to be? If it’s not, your youthfulness is in danger.

► 3. Your attitude is a critical factor in your health and happiness.

At Johns Hopkins University, they’ve been gathering comprehensive physical and psychological data on their medical students for several years. They check on their students while they’re in school and they continue to do annual updates for years afterwards.

These researchers have sorted the students into three attitudinal categories: alphas, betas, and gammas.

  • The alphas are the steady cautious individuals.
  • The betas are lively, bright, clever, adaptable, articulate, and undemanding — in a word, positive.
  • The gammas are moody, difficult, complex people with few social interests, vacillating from over to under self-confidence.

As you might expect, the gammas have the most medical problems. By their mid-50’s, 77% of the gammas had major illnesses — but only 51% of the alphas and 25% of the betas did. Their conclusion at Johns Hopkins? The more negative you are — the moodier, more depressed, anxious, angry and difficult you are — the greater chance you have of getting ill at a younger age and having major health problems.

The evidence is too overwhelming to dismiss. You’d better have a positive attitude, or you’d better get one, or you’ve got a price to pay. Again, I’d love to show you how to get and keep a positive attitude all the time. Join me in this Thursday’s webinar on The 11 Secrets of a Positive Attitude That Win Every Time.