A few years ago I discovered a story about a man named Michael. I'm not sure where it originated or I would happily give the author credit.
Michael always seemed to be in a good mood and when someone would ask him how he was doing, He would reply, "If I were any better, I'd be twins!"
One day Michael was asked how he could stay so positive all the time. Michael replied, "Life is about choices. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it."
Sometime later Michael fell 60 feet from a communications tower. After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care he was released from the hospital with rods inserted in his back.
About six months after the misfortune Michael was asked how he was doing. He quickly replied, "If I were any better, I'd be twins. Wanna see my scars?" The generous offer was declined but the questioner asked him what was going on in his mind after the fall.
"As I lay on the ground, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or I could choose to die. I chose to live. The paramedics kept telling me I was going to be fine but when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses I got really scared. In their eyes, I read, 'He's a dead man'. I knew I needed to take action.
"There was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me. She asked if I was allergic to anything. 'Yes', I replied."
"The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled 'Gravity!' Over their laughter, I told them, 'I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead.'"
Michael lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude. How we react to the challenges of life can dramatically affect the outcome, influence our health and the quality and length of our lives.
In his recent blog Dr. Andrew Weil shared recent research that showed the more optimistic you are, the greater your chances of being in ideal cardiovascular health!1
Researchers at the University of Illinois reviewed data on more than 5,100 men and women ranging in age from 45 to 84, and assessed their heart health based on such factors as blood pressure, body mass index, cholesterol levels, physical activity and smoking.
The participants also completed surveys that assessed their mental health and levels of optimism, and reported on any physical health problems they were experiencing.
The researchers reported that the higher the participants' health scores, the higher their levels of optimism, and that the most optimistic participants were considerably more likely to have the best heart health scores.
Overall, the researchers concluded, people who were the most optimistic were twice as likely to have ideal cardiovascular health...and they also maintained significantly better blood sugar and cholesterol levels than pessimists!
In another study 23-year Yale University researchers study showed that those who were optimistic towards aging lived roughly seven and a half years longer than participants who were dreading reaching their twilight years.
Is it easy to think positive and look for the good when things are going bad? Not usually, but the following verse has helped me;
"Now glory be to God who by His mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of, infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts or hopes." Ephesians 3:20 Living Bible.
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