Do optimists live longer? Of course they do
It may also lengthen your life. Higher levels of optimism are associated with a longer lifespan and a greater chance of living past 90, according to a new study of nearly 160,000 women of different races and backgrounds.
“Although optimism itself may be patterned by social structural factors, our findings suggest that the benefits of optimism for longevity may hold across racial and ethnic groups,” said lead author Hayami Koga, a postdoctorial student at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in a statement.
“Optimism may be an important target of intervention for longevity across diverse groups,” Koga added.
A growing body of research
The results held true, the study found, even when socioeconomic status, health conditions, depression, smoking, social engagement, poor diet and alcohol use were considered.
You too can be an optimist
Begin to write for 15 minutes about specifics you have accomplished and spent five minutes imaging how that reality looks and feels. Practicing this daily can significantly improve your positive feelings, experts say.
Another way to bolster optimism is to keep a journal dedicated to only positive experiences you experienced that day. Over time, that focus on the positive can reshape your outlook, experts say.
Like exercise, optimism exercises will need to be practiced on a regular basis to keep the brain’s positive outlook in good shape, experts say. But isn’t a longer, happier, more positive life worth the effort?