Forever running late? Great – that's good news for your health and happiness 4 months ago

Forever running late? Great – that's good news for your health and happiness

In my pre-child life, I prided myself on never, ever being late for anything. 

In fact; I will go as far as saying I somewhat looked down on people who constantly arrived too late for things, be it a work meeting or a cinema date. To me it just seemed so ignorant and sloppy – I simply could not understand how  you could not plan things better so that you'd arrive on time.

Fast forward a few years and a couple of children and let's just say my standards have slipped a little. And now? Now I still prefer being on time for things, it's just that sometimes, life with young children don't always go to plan and I have just had to learn to accept that – somewhat.

Like the other morning, when I was frantically trying to get us all ready to leave for creche and school and work, and also trying to pack a ballet bag for my daughter's extra pre-exam practise later on and also pack for our weekend away that we were leaving for that evening – when suddenly, my little boy, out of nowhere, projectile vomited all over the hallway. And himself. And, well, everywhere.

Needless to say we were late that day. And it was OK. Life with kids is unpredictable – and I have found that accepting and embracing that makes life a whole lot less stressful.

And guess what, it turns out that running late might not be so bad after all – not if you are looking to be happy and healthy, that is.

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According to Harvard researchers people who run late also tend to be eternal optimists –and are actually doing something right when it comes to their health.

"Many late people tend to be both optimistic and unrealistic and this affects their perception of time," says Diana DeLonzor in her book, Never Be Late Again. "They really believe they can go for a run, pick up their clothes at the dry cleaners, buy groceries and drop off the kids at school in an hour."

What this means, really, is that while I may spend my time accounting for the possibility of every red light and feeling impatient, people who are running late are often operating with a sense of calm. And according to a paper from Harvard Medical School, that's quite possibly adding years to their lives. In fact, even holding for other predictors of health, research has found that "an optimistic outlook early in life can predict better health and a lower rate of death during follow-up periods of 15 to 40 years."

How great is this, guys? Because while we all worry a little over how our ability to control time slips away as we wrangle crazy toddlers and moody tweens, and everything this comes with, running a little later means we might actually end up being happier – and stay alive longer.