Best Life: Optimism saves lives

Published: Oct. 27, 2022 at 7:19 AM CDT
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ORLANDO, FLA. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Being hopeful doesn’t just feel good, science shows it can improve your health and save your life. It can also give you a reason to get up in the morning, even when life seems to hit you hard.

“A car came down the highway and crashed into us and I was crushed,” said survivor Jamie Blanek.

The next memory Blanek has is waking up in the ICU. Her right leg gone...her left leg crushed.

“I was an active person, and I was a model. I traveled; I owned a business,” said Blanek.

She lost a lot, but she never lost hope.

“I’ve gone through this whole process wanting to reach my goals,” said Blanek.

Social science researchers at Arizona state university found that hopeful people are able to set goals easier, identify ways to reach their goals and achieve those goals. Jamie’s trauma surgeon Dr. Daniel Stahl sees how hope makes an impact in the ER.

“There’s also a hope that as a trauma surgeon, you have to instill to say, even though this terrible thing happened to you, we’re gonna, we’re gonna fix what we can fix,” said Stahl.

He believes honesty and positivity can change outcomes.

“I think when they hear that from their surgeon, it, it does, it instills a lot of hope,” said Stahl.

Research shows you can learn to be more hopeful by taking small steps to reach long-term success. Check-in with yourself regularly to make sure your goal is still what you want. Hope takes practice and it’s easier to have it if you foster a culture of hope, surrounding yourself with others who hold your optimistic view.

On the 10-month anniversary of Jamie’s accident on her birthday, Jamie reached her goal of getting back out on her snowboard.

“I survived for a reason. And the future is very bright,” said Blanek.

According to a 2019 study, researchers found that optimism is specifically related to a 15 percent longer life span and to a greater odd of living to the age of 85 and beyond.

Contributors to this news report include: Marsha Lewis, Producer; Roque Correa, Videographer and Editor.

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