How To Live Longer

The Latest Word from John Ed Mathison

I have often said “we have little or no control over our circumstances, but we ought to be in control of our attitude towards those circumstances. An attitude is more important than the reality of the circumstances themselves.” I’m sure the quote is not original with me, but I learned the concept while studying psychology at Princeton Seminary.

I believe that. I have seen people in bad situations with a good attitude enjoy life far more than people who are in good circumstances with a bad attitude.

It was interesting to read this week that heart patients who have a positive attitude are much more likely to be healthier down the road and survive longer than those who have a poor attitude. The study, published in Archives of Internal Medicine, came out this week.

2,800 heart patients were studied. The ones with a good attitude had a 30% greater chance of survival after 15 years than patients who were pessimistic. John Barefoot, professor emeritus at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC, reported that this was the longest, largest study to track survival.

The cardiac patients were given a series of questions. They were asked to agree or disagree with statements such as “I expect my lifestyle will suffer – I can still live a long healthy life – I doubt I will ever fully recover.”

These people were followed for 15 years. The study showed that regardless of the age, gender, income, severity of the coronary disease – a good attitude about recovery still translated with better health years later.

Barefoot suggests that folks with a positive attitude will be better able to focus on their coping process and solve problems. They don’t give up easily. Rather than worry about their problems, they work at solving them.

Here comes the tough part – studies are showing that it is awfully difficult to help change adult behavior!

Paul the Apostle was writing to the church at Philippi. He already knew what this study showed. He encouraged the people to “have this attitude in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:5)

Attitude is really a choice. When I get up in the morning I can begin the day with a bad attitude or a positive attitude. What I decide early in the morning usually determines how my attitude is for the day. I can wake up and say “Good morning, Lord” or I can say “Good Lord its morning.”

You don’t have to be a heart patient to realize that this study is true for all people. Folks with a positive attitude always enjoy life more, cope better with stress, have better exercise and eating habits, and generally look forward to living every day.

How is your attitude? I believe that adult behavior can change! God is in the business of changing attitudes!

If you ask Him to help you with your attitude, prepare to live longer!

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