Are You A Positive Person?

positive personSome studies have shown that an upbeat attitude about aging adds years. But long-term studies conducted at the Stanford Longevity Center show that emotions, more than attitudes, may be the biologic mechanism at work, says Laura Carstensen, the center's director.

"What's the mechanism at work here? Feeling upbeat about your life means you experience less stress, which in turn affects cortisol levels, which can affect health," she says. Stanford researchers periodically assess 19 different emotions in subjects randomly polled over 1 week at 5-year intervals. Having more positive emotions than negative ones is associated with living longer.

Carstensen is a firm believer that while "slow agers" clearly exist, there's more to their stories than lucky genes. "There's mounting evidence that genes play a role in longevity, but genes play a role in almost everything," she says. "They don't express themselves in vacuums -- there are very complex interactions between genes and lifestyle." So all that advice on how to live to 100? Can't hurt to heed it.


Start Your Day Off on the Right Foot

Happy StartAccording to a recent study at the Fisher College of Business at Ohio State University, if an employee is in a bad mood when they arrive at work-whether because of familial problems or a stressful commute-it can decrease their productivity by as much as 10% that day.

So unless you come in to the office every day in a great mood (and who does?), start your day with 5 to 10 minutes of time dedicated to decompressing. "Create a ritual. Maybe it's meeting in the coffee break room or going around the office to greet everyone. It doesn't matter what you do, as long as you foster a sense of connection [with your coworkers]," Says Holhbaum.

"Swinging by to say 'hi' to your colleagues when you walk in gives you a sense of focus. When you feel you're part of a bigger effort, you feel more connected to why you're there and that can make all the difference in the world." Re-focusing your mind at the beginning of the day will also create a sense of calm, helping you to disregard outside stressors and zero in on your daily tasks.

"If we're actually able to start the day centered, then we'll have a longer tolerance period before we get off track," Holhbaum says.


The Only 2 Financial Rules You Need Live By

Financial RulesThere's a lot of great advice out there to saving money. But if it overwhelms you, start with just these two simple rules and you'll be on your way to financial independence.

1. Pay Yourself First: The Best Kind of Cliché

"Pay yourself first" is a very common piece of financial advice. It's simple enough to follow, but that doesn't make it easy.

If you can save $200 per month at a 6-percent interest rate, you'll have more than $200,000 in 30 years. At the very least, you'll have a great savings fund at the ready for whatever life may bring. But how can you come up with that cash when you barely have any money left between paychecks?

The answer is to take that money off the top. And yes, it'll sting a bit at first.

2. Practice Mindful Spending

Having some leeway in your paycheck isn't a given, but I think many people have more wiggle room than they realize.

This is what I mean when I say that I think $10 is a lot of money. When I decide to buy something, it's a decision, not an impulse buy. I want to spend my money on things that really have value for me, not just things that are convenient or appealing at the moment. So while I can buy something nice once in a while — without guilt — I have a hard time going out for lunch or buying (you guessed it) a latte.

Less expensive purchases are an easy mental hurdle to get over because they're so small it seems that they could hardly amount to anything. The truth is, these seemingly insignificant purchases can easily amount to, or exceed, that $200 you may be aiming to save.