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Your Healthy Family: The science behind luck

Posted at 7:12 AM, Mar 24, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-24 07:15:05-04

Some people seem to have all the luck! But a psychologist with Cleveland Clinic said with the right mindset, you can drum up some luck of your own.

Research shows people who are considered 'lucky' have two things in common.

"They are more optimistic, and they think in positive ways. They don’t believe magic makes good things happen. Instead, they believe it is an attribute or a characteristic they have. In turn, this leads to positive thinking," Dr. Susan Albers, a psychologist with Cleveland Clinic, said.

She said an optimistic mindset, and believing you're lucky, will make it more likely that good things will happen because if you think something is possible, you tend to take actions to make your thoughts a reality.

Dr. Albers said to set yourself up for success every morning, use positive affirmations like telling yourself you're lucky. She said that will prime your brain to look for and recognize fortunate things that happen throughout the day. She also said it's important to then take time to write down the highlights of each day; reinforcing those positives in your life will help retrain your brain to hone in on the good things, and make you feel luckier.

Dr. Albers also said if you have a good luck charm, hang on to it.

“Rituals, such as wearing your lucky socks or carrying your lucky penny, do help you to be luckier, but not in the way you may think. It’s not the item or the ritual that increases your luck. It’s the action. It helps you think and believe you are luckier, making you feel more confident," she said.

She said studies show that having a positive attitude can help reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and make you happier and healthier overall.