Don’t worry, be happy

Four reasons to look on the bright side this year. By Dr Sally Norton

More likely to succeed
You might think that succeeding would lead you to feeling happier, but in actual fact, it works the other way round. Studies show that positivity and a happier outlook will increase your chances of success. For example, did you know that three quarters of our success at work is linked to our optimism and how well we manage and deal with stress, rather than our IQ?

Improved heart health
According to a new study from the University of Illinois, having a positive outlook could provide you with better heart health. The study found that those people who were most optimistic, were twice as likely to be in ideal cardiovascular health, compared with their pessimistic counterparts, with significantly better blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Not only this, but optimists were also more likely to be physically active and have healthier BMIs.

Better chances of ditching the junk food
Struggling to lose that last half a stone? One of the reasons diets ultimately fail is that we usually start them in a negative frame of mind – because we feel bad about the way we look or feel. What’s more, for the majority of us who have been on repeated diets, it’s difficult not to feel this latest diet will end the same way as all the others. A negative frame of mind, science shows, means we are less likely to succeed – so develop that positive frame of mind before you start your endeavours.

More likely to stick with your fitness goals
Thinking about fitness in a negative way will make you more likely to bail at the first opportunity. Studies show that a positive frame of mind helps people to stick with their fitness regimes as well as their healthy eating goals. Once you get exercising, that positivity is helped even more by the endorphins or feel-good hormones that exercise releases. If you find the thought of heading to the gym leaves you feeling miserable (I don’t blame you!), then ditch the gym. Try finding different ways to keep fit – swimming or brisk walks in the fresh air. When you’ve found an activity that you really enjoy, positive feelings will make you more likely to stick with it for the long-haul.

Dr Sally Norton is a leading UK health expert and founder of Vavista Life (

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