Monday, June 4, 2012

Positive Thinking and "Mai Pen Rai" are Paying Off

In a recent article published by Wealth Wire, titled "The Secret to Living a Longer, Fuller Life" it was shown that maintaining a happy disposition can be more beneficial to your longevity than many believe.
Until recently, researchers have largely focused on the genetic components that allow centenarians to reach the age 100.  But researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine as part of their Longevity Genes Project, with the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology of Yeshiva University have found that personality traits like being outgoing and optimistic may also contribute to longer lives.
It has been probably my biggest argument in life. Anyone person that I have ever spoken with on the quality of life, the struggles we face, and the ultimate way to find peace all stem from one thing: positive thinking.
Throughout the years I've written a lot about life and what it means to live life in a complete and healthy manner. I'm no expert. I don't have the answers, but I have my beliefs and what I feel truly makes for a happier, more peaceful life and it all boils down to the idea of keeping a positive mentality.
To get through life's hardest times, it takes the power of positive thinking to get you through it. No matter the circumstances, there is always a silver lining in life, there is always a positive to come from it, it just takes someone who's accustom to thinking that way to see it. Any situation life presents you is an opportunity for a positive outcome, whether it be losing a job, failing an exam, being stricken with disease, having your heart broken, or being insulted by someone else. No matter how horrid those scenarios are, there is always a positive way of embracing them all. The quicker you see it, the quicker it will happen. Positive thinking leads to positive actions. This is true even for things you feel are out of your power.
I've spoken at schools, written articles for various publications, and simply been a friend to those in need and have discussed this topic at length. No matter the occasion, there is absolutely no reason to think poorly on situations.
Negative mentality equals negative energy which in turn leads to negative results. It's a simple philosophy that I firmly stand by. I live by it. So much so it's ingrained permanently in my soul and on my skin.
Back in 2006, after six months of truly discovering the unbelievable things life has to offer through travel, spirituality, and open-mindedness, I decided to get a tattoo.
It seemed cliche, getting a tattoo after studying abroad. But I didn't care. I knew it was deeper, more meaningful than that. I had been living with positive mentality philosophy for many years before that day I stepped into the tattoo parlor directly off the beach in Au Nang, Thailand. And I knew I was going to express my appreciation to living a happy, healthy, peaceful, and carefree life with a tattoo.
My chance to connect with the Thai culture was a success while studying abroad. I saw what life was like in a country where the value of a life was much more than in western cultures. Not in terms of money or benefit to society, but the respect of the body, mind and soul was something you saw more frequently in Asia. I never wanted to forget that.
Specifically in Thailand, people's way of living is slower. Life didn't move too fast, even in Bangkok's vast and hectic metropolis. That is something I connected with. And much of that stemmed from the phrase that you heard very frequently within the language, "mai pen rai" which means "do not worry/it's ok/everything is fine." When I explain that to some western friends, they say, "oh yea, 'Hakuna Matata!'"
Essentially they have the same meanings but it was philosophy ingrained in the culture and lexicon. I can recall hundreds of times I spoke the phrase in Thai to someone -- stranger or friend-- it always resulted in the biggest smile to their face. The phrase 'mai pen rai' is a way of living that you dealt with everyday in Thailand.. Mai pen rai is a way to treat your mind, body, and soul and not get caught up in the superficial, unnecessary and less beneficial way of life. It teaches me to breathe, appreciate and be happy. This is why I got my tattoo on the top of my foot, a place that you only look at when you are looking down. One look at the ink upon my skin and I know that whatever it is that is getting me down, it's not worth sulking about. As they say, "Everything will be OK in the end. If it's not OK, it's not the end."
I guess there are many ways to say it; "Don't sweat the small stuff", "Life's too short...", "Live life to the fullest", etc. All of these a representation of the main idea of living life to it's greatest extent and with a positive mentality and you too will reach old age with happiness in your heart.
As the article explained,

"When I started working with centenarians, I thought we'd find that they survived so long in part because they were mean and ornery," said Dr. Nir Barzila, study co-author, director of Einstein's Institute for Aging Research and chair of its division of Aging, in a press release.
However according to Dr. Barzila, the study found qualities that clearly reflected a positive attitude towards life. Most were outgoing, optimistic, easygoing and considered laughter an important part of life. Many had a large social network and expressed emotions openly rather than bottling them up.

This is what we all must strive for, a more outgoing, optimistic, and easygoing life full of laughter and love. It may sound like rainbows and cupcakes to some. But those who believe that appreciating the smaller, more positive things in life is just a narrow-minded, hopeless-romantic way of covering up the harsher, crueler, and more rigid world clearly hasn't stopped to appreciate the beauty of a rainbow and the deliciousness of a cupcake. And to me, it's sad to know that happiness cannot be as easily accessed to them. Because ultimately it is all about training your mind to believe it.