The Positive Shift: Mastering Mindset to Improve Happiness, Health, and Longevity

The Positive Shift: Mastering Mindset to Improve Happiness, Health, and Longevity

by Catherine A. Sanderson


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It’s the reason why spending time on Facebook makes us feel sad and lonely. Why expensive name-brand medicines provide better pain relief than the generic stuff, even if they share the same ingredients. And why a hospital room with a good view speeds up recovery from surgery.

The truth is, the way we think about ourselves and the world around us dramatically impacts our happiness, health, how fast or slow we age, and even how long we live. In fact, people with a positive mindset about aging live on average 7.5 years longer than those without.

That might sound alarming to those of us who struggle to see the bright side, but the good news is we can make surprisingly simple changes or small shifts to how we think, feel, and act that will really pay off.

In The Positive Shift: Mastering Mindset to Improve Happiness, Health, and Longevity, Dr. Catherine Sanderson breaks down the science of thought and shows how our mindset—or thought pattern—exerts a substantial influence on our psychological and physical health. Most important, this book demonstrates how, no matter what our natural tendency, with practice we can make minor tweaks in our mindset that will improve the quality—and longevity—of our life.

Combining cutting-edge research from the fields of psychology, neuroscience, and medicine, as well as vivid real-world examples of the power of mindset, The Positive Shift gives readers practical and easy strategies for changing maladaptive thought patterns and behaviors so they can live longer, happier lives. These behaviors include:

  • Appreciating nature, with actions as simple as eating lunch outside
  • Giving to others, like volunteering
  • Spending money on experiences, not possessions

Living your best life is truly mind over matter. Believe in yourself and rethink your way to a happier reality.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781946885449
Publisher: BenBella Books, Inc.
Publication date: 01/29/2019
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 156,040
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Catherine A. Sanderson is the Manwell Family Professor in Life Sciences (Psychology) at Amherst College. She received a bachelor’s degree in psychology, with a specialization in Health and Development, from Stanford University, and received both masters and doctoral degrees in psychology from Princeton University. Professor Sanderson’s research examines how personality and social variables influence health-related behaviors such as safer sex and disordered eating, the development of persuasive messages and interventions to prevent unhealthy behavior, and the predictors of relationship satisfaction. This research has received grant funding from the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Health.

Professor Sanderson has published more than 25 journal articles and book chapters in addition to five college textbooks, a high school health textbook, and a popular press book on parenting. In 2012, she was named one of the country’s top 300 professors by the Princeton Review. Professor Sanderson speaks regularly to public and corporate audiences on such topics as the science of happiness, emotional intelligence, the mind-body connection, and the psychology of good and evil.

Table of Contents


Part 1: Discovering Mindset
Chapter 1: Mindset Matters
Chapter 2: Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers: Mindset Affects Health
Chapter 3: Older Adults Are Wise, Not Forgetful: Mindset Affects Memory
Chapter 4: Secrets of Centenarians: Mindset Affects Longevity
Part 2: Understanding Mindset
Chapter 5: Are You Tigger or Eeyore: Personality Matters
Chapter 6: “Comparison Is the Thief of Joy”: Environment Matters
Chapter 7: Embrace Adversity: Trauma Matters
Part 3: Changing Mindset
Chapter 8: Change Your Behavior and Your Mindset Will Follow
Chapter 9: Nature Does the Mind and Body Good
Chapter 10: Spend Money Wisely: Take a Trip, See a Play, Go to a Game
Chapter 11: Give a Gift—to Anyone
Chapter 12: Build Relationships: All You Need Is Love
About the Author

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“The research is clear: Your mindset is one of the greatest predictors of your success and well-being. With practical strategies and stories, Catherine Sanderson shows you how to apply this research at work, with your family, and in your own life.”

—Shawn Achor, New York Times bestselling author of Before Happiness and The Happiness Advantage

“A smart and engaging exploration of the science of happiness and how we can use it on our own lives.”

—Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness and professor of psychology at Harvard University

“As someone who in the past has suffered from anxiety and depression, I only wish this book had been available in those dark days . . . Professor Sanderson shares in her warm and conversational voice what really makes a difference to our mental health, from using money to save time, to planning a trip (even better than going on one), and why we should give gifts to everyone . . . Above all, this is a book that gives hope. We can change our mindset, and in doing so we really can become happier, healthier, and even live longer. Here’s to making The Positive Shift.

—Rachel Kelly, bestselling author of Walking on Sunshine: 52 Small Steps to Happiness

The Positive Shift offers a rare and valuable combination by offering deeply practical advice about what can seem an impossibly abstract problem: How can we use our big brains to increase our well-being?”

—Michael Norton, professor at Harvard Business School and coauthor of Happy Money

“Everyone seeking to live a long and successful life needs The Positive Shift! Catherine Sanderson’s mantra that our mindsets have powerful influences on our performance—good and bad—gives us an incredible set of tools to make important changes at any stage of life. ”

—Marc E. Agronin, MD, author of The End of Old Age: Living a Longer, More Purposeful Life

“Dr. Catherine Sanderson, nationally recognized as a fabulous teacher, researcher, corporate speaker and consultant, has gifted us with a goldmine of information to reduce stress and improve our life. Using only empirically significant research findings, case histories, personal anecdotes and foibles, and self-quizzes, Professor Sanderson provides clear and compelling take-home instructions for adopting a positive mindset. Her warm and accessible writing style will definitely enable you to become happier, healthier, wiser and live longer.”

—Dr. James B. Maas, Weiss Presidential Fellow and former Professor and Chair of Psychology at Cornell University and CEO of Sleep for Success

The Positive Shift is a lucid work, drawing upon the latest scientific findings, that will enable readers to enhance their health and well-being in daily life. I especially liked Dr. Sanderson's ability to weave events from her own life into this tapestry designed to help others.”

Edward Hoffman, PhD, author of Paths to Happiness: 50 Ways to Add Joy to Your Life Every Day

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