Four Simple Ways To Be More Positive and Grateful To Extend Longevity and Bring More Happiness to Your Life

This week, in Mah Jongg, someone laid out three tiles with two of them jokers. Jokers are a good thing in any game. Someone bemoaned that the person had two jokers, and this person had none. I, the perpetual Pollyanna, a person who is constantly optimistic, said no. This is an opportunity for all of us to get one of these jokers now that they are laid out on the board. Sure enough, in the next round, I was able to pluck one of those jokers for my own. I commented that it is how you look at things; that it is always better to find the positive rather than the negative. That is when I decided to write this blog on ways to be more positive and grateful every day, especially that I hope my grandchildren might read one day.  Studies show optimism and positivity increase longevity and bring more happiness to your life. See, for example, “Optimism linked to longevity and well-being in two recent studies,” National Institute on Aging, N.I.H.,  December 08, 2022.

Who does not want to increase longevity and bring more happiness to your life? But sometimes we just don’t know some easy tricks to do so, or when the tendency to say “poor me.”

Coincidentally, in The New York Times the very next morning, February 21, 2024, in the “Here to Help” column by Jancee Dunn, was “How to Find Simple Ways to Cherish Each Day.” Four simple ways were given to be more positive and grateful to extend longevity and bring more happiness to your life.  I have read many articles on this topic, and usually you get too much information, or the ideas are too much work to incorporate in your life.  These four concepts are easy to remember with an acronym I have created.  I share Jancee Dunn’s examples, and, added some of my own. The four headings that were in bold in her outstanding column are in all capital letters here.



The first concept is to build a powerful memory of a single moment, which psychologists call coding. So, sometimes just stop what you are doing each day. Notice the specific moment. Think of the positive. “Tune into your senses, and ask yourself: what positive sensations do I feel? Why is this moment important? What do I see or hear?”  In yoga, we call it tuning into your body and being present. Putting this all together, pause in a moment in time in the day and what we see, think, and feel, brings positivity and gratitude to the specific moment.



I love this one. Sometimes we are just so happy in a place and time, enjoying a celebration, being with those we love, experiencing a life passage. We are immersed in the experience. This concept is to get up and move outside of the group and become an observer of the joy around you. When you are feeling the happiness, withdraw mentally, and if possible, physically a short distance, for a few moments and observe.  The example is “he takes a moment to view the site of his loved ones from a distance, then goes back in. Pulling back, even briefly, gives him instant perspective, and deepens his appreciation.” Call it imprinting or creating a photograph in your mind of the joy, which brings more positivity in your life and makes you grateful for this moment of joy.



This next one is easy too. It is capitalizing on, and prolonging, positive feelings. The concept is that when you share happy news with a loved one, and relish it together, you have more time of positivity. 

In this age of texting, it is easy to share with your children and grandchildren, and loved ones at any time as you don’t have to worry about whether anyone is sleeping in late or already asleep or available or not. Receiving that little heart back or a check that they have seen it and thought of you can be enough to extend positive feelings of the happiness you shared. Of course, the best is when you receive a phone call back and now the positivity is even extended further.

So, what may you share? Anything positive. Test results from a doctor that we have loads of our ages as grandparents and we underestimate how joyful it is that we are still in good health. Sometimes, we grandparents forget that we should share the little things and encourage our grandchildren to do so. 

Enlist the parents of your grandchildren, and ask questions as to what’s going on with the grandchildren. This gives you a lot of information to write a short text about good news, for example, “I just learned that. . . .how wonderful. Love you.” I guess this idea is really about connecting with loved ones and at times and in small ways you might not consider brings them to mind. I call it sharing good news, in little spurts, often, with those you love and encouraging them to share, ie. “what happy thing happened today?” in a text.



This one I am not so sure about, especially for people who might tend to be more negative. Mental time travel is focusing on the future or the past instead of the present. The concept is  increasing your appreciation for the present by imagining yourself in the future, wanting it for your current life. The example given is “he has a seven-year-old granddaughter, and sometimes he’ll pretend that she is all grown up, has moved away, and that I would give anything, just for one more day with her, he said. Then he opens his eyes and tells himself that his wishes granted, I’m seeing her later today he said.”

This Grandma could only imagine doing this in the presence of the grandchild and I do when I am with them. I picture them, grown-up and happy and successful in their life. Then I appreciate the fact that I am here to spend time with them now. Maybe that’s what mental time travel is or at least that’s the way I can think it brings positivity and gratefulness to your life.

What the column made me realize is that bringing positivity and being grateful in your life is not just one big event, it is small increments, small moments, that may take place several times every day. All I think it requires is the recognition to do what the first concept says, stop and pay attention to the positive moment. Be grateful that there’s no line at the supermarket. Be grateful that there’s no traffic on the road.  Be joyful that you received a phone call or a text from your child or grandchild.  I guess it means to me that little things can mean a lot.  We just have to pay attention to paying attention.

If that’s what it takes to add longevity to one’s life, it’s free and easy. It’s just becoming somewhat of a Pollyanna, also sometimes looking at a circumstance that could be looked at as negative, but finding some way to look at it that it has a positive side.  Optimism is a key to longevity.

One (Pause to notice details and sensations), two (Out for a minute), three (Share good news), four (practice mental Time travel) simple concepts. PAUSE, OUT, SHARE, TIME. POST to cherish each day. Just think the POST acronym for Jaycee Dunn’s four simple ways to cherish the day, for me it means to be more positive and grateful to extend longevity and bring more happiness to your life.

Don’t we want all of our children and grandchildren to look at life this way? Don’t we want to be around longer to experience the joy?

Please consider passing this post along to your children and grandchildren with 



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