We have all heard the term "look on the bright side". But now science is showing it is actually healthy to do so. And conversely, pessimism is dangerous to your health.
Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania USA) have confirmed that optimism promotes a longer, healthier life. The team reviewed data collected on 100,000 women, ages 50 years and older, collected as part of the Women’s Health Initiative Study. They observed that optimistic women were 14% less likely to die from any cause (as compared to pessimists), and 30% less likely to die from heart disease after 8 years of follow-up from the study.
Optimists also were less likely to have high blood pressure, diabetes, or smoke cigarettes. Additionally, the researchers found that women who were “cynically hostile,” that is – highly mistrustful of other people, were 16% more likely to die during the study period, and 23% more likely to die from cancer.
Subsequently, the same researchers reported that optimism, and conversely – cynical or hostile attitudes, factors in to a woman’s risk of developing coronary heart disease and dying from the condition. The team studied outlook on life and incidence of coronary heart disease and resultant death in 97,253 postmenopausal women. The researchers found that optimism was associated with a reduced incidence of coronary heart disease and total mortality, as compared with pessimism. Further, those women who were more cynical and/or hostile had an increased incidence of CHD and total mortality.
Not only is it intuitive that maintaining a positive outlook on life would promote lifespan and healthspan, scientific data shows the concept is true.
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