Skip to main content

Can Being Positive Help You Live Longer?

Can Being Positive Help You Live Longer by Kelley Grimes at Cultivating Peace and Joy

“Always look for the good things in life: the world is wonderful,

it’s full of beauty and miracles.”

~ Alice Herz-Sommer

I heard an inspiring piece on National Public Radio about Alice Herz-Sommer, the oldest known Holocaust survivor who died at the age of 110. What really stood out to me about Alice was her positive attitude and deep appreciation of beauty in the world.

She said,”Life is beautiful, extremely beautiful. And when you are old you appreciate it more. When you are older you think, you remember, you care and you appreciate. You are thankful for everything. For everything.

Not only did Alice survive the Holocaust but she also survived the death of her husband in Auschwitz and later in life the death of her son, all while maintaining her optimism and deep appreciation of beauty, especially expressed in music.

When she was asked how she was able to live so long she answered,”In a word: optimism. I look at the good. When you are relaxed, your body is always relaxed. When you are pessimistic, your body behaves in an unnatural way. It is up to us whether we look at the good or the bad. When you are nice to others, they are nice to you. When you give, you receive.”

I love her philosophy of life, which resonates so deeply with me!

I am so inspired that she was able to transform experiences as traumatic as the Holocaust and losing her loved ones through her deep love of music and believing in the power of good.

She said, “Hatred eats the soul of the hater, not the hated.”

Alice understood that she had a choice in how she responded in her life and she reinforced her self-nurturing attitude of love, forgiveness, gratitude and optimism.

So how can you incorporate Alice’s wisdom into your own life?

How can you bring more positivity into your day?

What tools can you use in your self-nurturing practice that will increase your appreciation of the good in your life and reinforce your optimism?

I am so deeply inspired by Alice and believe that her positive attitude and gratitude for beauty, love, music, nature and life helped her live such a long life. Her example affirms my belief in the power of  self-nurturing and my commitment to empower others to create self-nurturing practices in order to live with more peace, joy and meaning.

I will leave you with a final quote from Alice. “Life is beautiful, love is beautiful, nature and music are beautiful. Everything we experience is a gift, a present we should cherish and pass on to those we love.”
What a gift Alice is to me and I am deeply grateful for her inspiration! May you embrace positivity and live authentically in truth and beauty, nurturing peace in the world from the inside out!

Kelley Grimes

Sending you so much peace, love and gratitude,

Kelley Grimes, M.S.W.
Counselor, Author & Speaker

Sign up to receive daily reminders with our mobile app!

Join the discussion 12 Comments

  • What a powerful story! Thank you for sharing Alice’s message so eloquently, Kelley. I am floored by her comment, “When you are pessimistic, your body behaves in an unnatural way.” Simple truth. Wow.

    • What a remarkable woman Alice was filled with love, light and grace! I was moved by that same quote Laurie and her deep understanding about the power of positivity and gratitude. I am grateful for your comment and kind words!

  • Rachel says:

    What an incredible and inspiring story, thank you for sharing it.

  • Andrea says:

    I think I heard the same interview. What an amazing woman!

    I spent many years working in the addiction recovery community where I learned to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. I learned from the best — and am grateful for all they shared with me.

    • What a gift you learned from the addiction recovery community. I learned to cultivate an attitude of gratitude through my journey with my daughter who had chronic health challenges and I truly believed it saved my life. For Alice it not only saved her life but helped live a rich, meaningful and long life! Thank you so much for your comment!

  • What an inspirational story. How small and petty our own issues are compared to hers. A lesson in humility for sure.

    • It is amazing the resilience and strength some people embody who have been through so much. Alice is truly an inspiration and fabulous reminder about what is truly important in life! Thank you so much for your comment!

  • Lea Tran says:

    Gratitude is so important. Even when you don’t think there’s anything in your life to be grateful for, if you look honestly, there will always be at least one thing.

  • Alice’s words are so inspiring and empowering. I love it when she said “When you are relaxed, your body is always relaxed. When you are pessimistic, your body behaves in an unnatural way. It is up to us whether we look at the good or the bad.” And it all comes from the good she is focusing on, from her optimism.

    • I am so glad her wise words resonated with you too Claudia! I love the frame of awareness that how we are feeling impacts our bodies and that we can make a choice about focussing on the positive or negative in our lives no matter what has happened. Thank you so much for your comment!

Leave a Reply