Do optimists live longer?

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Do optimists live longer?


The optimist lives a life of possibilities. In a recent study, researchers have indicated that optimists may live longer.


Details on the Research Study

A group of 159,255 women, belonging to different races and backgrounds were a part of this study. The recent study was published by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. It indicated that those who show higher optimism levels may live a longer life.

Across the racially diverse group, researchers found evidence between optimism and a longer lifespan. Furthermore, lifestyle factors account for less than one-fourth of this association between longevity and optimism, the study revealed.

Thus, lifestyle factors such as body mass index (BMI), diet quality, exercising, alcohol consumption, and smoking are accountable for less than a quarter of this association.

The research developed that within this group, the optimistic participants indicated a 5.4% longer lifespan than the non-optimistic ones. This roughly translates to living four more years.  The research group established the findings by gathering data from 26 years of their study.

Building on the 2019 Research Study

This is not the first study of its kind. Previously, Boston University and Harvard University had collectively published a study in 2019. Researchers assessed the level of optimism in men and women.

On observing the trends, it established that on average, the lives of optimistic men and women increased by 11% to 15%. Optimistic participants show better odds of living 85 years or more.

However, the study was limited to mostly white participants, belonging to the privileged socioeconomic strata of the concerned society.

The recent study takes a step ahead to assess the relation between optimism and longevity in racially diverse groups, belonging to varied socioeconomic backgrounds.

It thus reveals that positive thinking shows a better likelihood to boost health and facilitate longevity.

Become an Optimist

Optimism can thus be key to living longer. Moreover, optimists are better poised to control their behavior and emotions, studies suggest.

A recent study on optimism-lifespan association reports that when one encounters stressful experiences, it tends to impact their optimism.

But those who practice optimism tend to gather “greater social support.” They strategize better to minimize health risks, that improves their living condition.

But experts emphasize that one should avoid toxic positivity. Natalie Dattilo, a clinical health psychologist, when talking to the Washington Post in 2020 had stated when dealing with a bad situation, one must not put on a positive façade while avoiding the negative.

To cultivate an optimistic mindset, one should accept the negative feelings too. It’ll help it to pass, creating space to develop positivity.

An optimistic mindset will instill confidence and hope in you, enabling you to focus on the good things. It reminds you of the temporariness of setbacks, and trains you mind that good thing are bound to happen.

You can practice optimism exercises on a daily basis to develop a holistic positive outlook. One such way is to maintain a journal to write down things you are grateful for. Studies suggest that it helps to break down and dissipate negative thinking.