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A study revealed that being optimistic can increase a person’s life expectancy.
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and National Center for PTSD discovered that people with high levels of optimism were 11% to 15% more likely to live longer than those with low levels. In fact, findings also revealed that those who look at life through rose-colored glasses had better chances of reaching the age of 85.
The researchers defined optimism as a general tendency to expect positive results. This refers to the ability to cope with problems and not merely the absence of sadness or life struggles.
To come up with their findings, the researchers analyzed and compared data from two separate studies. One of the studies involved 69,744 female nurses, while the other involved 1,429 male subjects.
Respondents of both studies answered surveys that assessed their optimism level, overall well-being, and health habits. The female subjects in the first study were followed for 10 years, while the male subjects were observed for 30 years.
Despite concluding that optimism can lead to a longer life, the researchers were unable to determine how exactly optimism affects life expectancy. They speculate that optimism may drive people to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Optimistic people may also be better when it comes to coping with stress. Thus, optimists avoid health risks associated with stress like liver and heart diseases.
The study proves, however, that being optimistic can be an effective strategy to age better. Furthermore, the researchers assert that optimism can be learned. With the help of therapy, people can develop a brighter outlook and a positive attitude toward life.