If this little guy is any indication, I’d say a positive mental attitude is a very important attribute to longevity. Next week will be Brinkley’s 17th birthday, and I think that every day of those 17 years has been a good day in Brinkley’s book.
On the surface, I sometimes think, how can he be so happy when he has so many physical things wrong with his body? His hearing and eyesight are mostly gone. He has diabetes and gets three shots of insulin a day. He was born with a bad knee and had his hip bone removed because of arthritis and because of old age, his other legs are wobbly too.
But despite all of this, he still wags his tail when he sees what little of us he can still see, he still enjoys going on walks and eating his favorite jerky treats. We’ve often used Brinkley as an example with our kids on how we should live. Despite everything, he loves his life!
Some people are just wired to be pessimistic, but it is possible to learn how to be more optimistic and to reap the health benefits that come with it. So how do we do this? Here are 3 ways to start:
• Maintain a daily gratitude practice:
Keep a gratitude journal and write down three or more things that you are grateful for in your life. I keep my journal by my bed and do this before my feet touch the floor in the morning. It can be a job that you like, a good relationship, healthy kids, good friends or even a sunny day!
•Keep track of positive events in your life:
Every night, write down three or more positive events that happened that day. Maybe you went you a hike with your friend, your boss complimented your hard work on a project, or a stranger complimented you on how well-behaved your kids were.
•Visualize your best possible self:
Regularly and clearly imagine your future in which everything has turned out as well as possible and you have achieved all of your life goals.
These daily exercises retrain your brain toward looking for the positive things in life and forcing your brain to avoid the negative and seek the positive.
Like anything else, it takes time to form new habits (about 66 days actually), so give yourself some time to learn this skill and you’ll probably live a longer and happier life like Brinkley.
…and for more on Brinkley and the Havanese, click here!