Friday, June 14, 2024

An Optimistic Outlook Leads to a Longer, Healthier Life

Optimists live longer. That’s what the latest research shows.

How much longer? On average 4.4 years longer. Optimists also have a greater chance of reaching the age of 90 than those who have a less bright view of the world. This is according to a study conducted by Harvard University and Boston University School of Medicine.

The findings are based on dates from close to 160,000 women enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative from 1993 to 1998. It followed postmenopausal women (from across racial and ethnic groups) for 26 years (or as long as they were alive in that 26-year period). Their responses to positive and negative statements in a questionnaire were analyzed.

The researchers found that healthy factors such as exercise, healthy eating habits, smoking and alcohol use accounted for less than a quarter of the association between longevity and optimism.

What does this suggest then? That we might want to approach aging and health with a focus on positive psychological factors (including optimism) as a way of boosting longevity and aging well.

For more on the findings, including what they discovered about the women who were most optimistic, and what research has discovered when it comes to cultivating an optimistic outlook, read the full article here.

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