Here’s another reason to choose for hope and optimism, even in the face of disappointing circumstances: Optimistic people are more likely to live longer, healthier lives, according to several research studies. A recent blog written by David R. Hamilton, who has a PhD in organic chemistry, cites studies done at Yale University, the Mayo Clinic and Carnegie Mellon University that show significant health benefits or longevity associated with people’s positive outlooks on life.

“When something doesn't quite go to plan, a person with a positive attitude might just deal with it, typically refocus, or even look for another solution,” Hamilton writes. “But a person with a negative attitude will typically complain more, get angry or frustrated, and they will expend a lot of energy going over and over in their heads what has happened and how much it is a real inconvenience for them. Inside the body, the difference between the two people is stress.”

He suggests a few ways to transform the negative to positive: Count your blessings, make “molehills out of mountains” and go on a complaint fast.

We have a suggestion, too: Recognize that how we react to circumstances is a choice, completely within our control. No matter how disappointing, frustrating or aggravating the circumstances we face, we can always choose how to face them. One of the things we advocate in Authentic Conversations is communicating in a way that makes these choices visible.

It’s not a far-fetched, New Age hocus-pocus theory. It’s based on the work of Dr. Viktor Frankl, who wrote Man’s Search for Meaning, an account of his time in the Nazi concentration camps. As a psychiatrist who was assigned to work as a doctor in the camps, he describes the sordid and dehumanizing environment he and his fellow prisoners faced every day. Some chose hope of a better future (including him), and were more likely to survive, according to Frankl.

Make a choice for optimism in the face of disappointment. Then have conversations about the fact you’ve made the choice and how you tend to live that choice out. You can even point out, with good will, that others can make a similar choice.  Along with the immediate benefits of making your intentions transparent and creating stronger relationships, you’ll be increasing the odds of a long and healthy life.