Most of us enjoy being in the company of positive, optimistic people. Their sunny outlook on life is both refreshing and encouraging. But are there are any tangible, long term benefits associated with having a positive outlook? Looks like there are! Here’s the data:
- – A 30-year study of 447 people at the Mayo Clinic found that optimists had around a 50% lower risk of early death than pessimists. The study’s conclusion? “Mind and body are linked and attitude has an impact on the final outcome — death.”
- – This was further compounded by a Yale study that asked 660 elderly people whether they agreed that we become less useful as we age. Those who didn’t agree, and therefore had the most positive attitude about aging, lived an average of 7.5 years longer than those with the most negative attitudes, who did agree that we become less useful as we age.
- – It was also shown in a Dutch study that examined the attitudes and longevity of 999 people over the age of 65. The study reported a “protective relationship” between optimism and mortality. People with a positive attitude, quite simply, lived longer. They even had a 77% lower risk of heart disease than pessimists.
So why do positive people live longer? I imagine that it is because they get less stressed in day-to-day life, finding solutions and moving on, rather than getting frustrated and dwelling, when something doesn’t go according to plan.
Inside the body, the difference between the two people is stress. Regular stress causes inflammation.
Thus, a negative attitude, because it causes stress and inflammation, can speed up aging. This is likely why positive people live longer.
So what can you do? Here: 10 steps to a more optimistic attitude