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Harvard Medical School
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General Medical Questions
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Question : I have read that a positive outlook on life is good for your heart and your overall health. But how can you help yourself be more positive?
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The Trusted Source
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Howard LeWine, M.D.

Howard LeWine, M.D., is chief editor of Internet Publishing, Harvard Health Publications. He is a clinical instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital. Dr. LeWine has been a primary care internist and teacher of internal medicine since 1978.

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October 22, 2013
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It may seem odd to think about ways to improve your positive attitude. But it can be done. Here are some suggestions:

  • Be grateful. One study suggested keeping a journal. Write down those things each day that make you feel good or thankful, even if they seem very minor. Perhaps it was just a small compliment about something you did for someone.  
  • Be optimistic. This is not always easy if you tend to go toward the negative. But each time you find yourself thinking that something won’t work out, take a breath and reconsider. How might I look at this in a positive way?
  • Appreciate what you have. Too often in life we spend our time comparing our own lives to the lives of others. Look at what you do have and take pleasure in those things.
  • Smile and laugh. There's an interesting body of research on the benefits of laughter. In some parts of the world, "laughter clubs" have been created to promote increased smiling and laughing as a means of feeling better.
  • Get moving. Exercise promotes physical and health benefits. It counteracts stress and low mood. And it can also make you feel better about yourself. 

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