In a recent major study, researchers analysed the data of 160,000 women between the ages of 50 and 79.
At the beginning, they completed a survey about their outlook on life. The researchers classified the women with the highest scores as optimists and those with the lowest scores as pessimists.
In 2019, 26 years after the initial assessment, the researchers found that the women who were optimists generally lived longer than their pessimist counterparts.
In fact, they were more likely to live into their nineties!
This was true even after the researchers recalibrated the results after studying the recipients' education levels, their health, economic status and ethnicity.
In another study, which analysed the longevity of men and women also found that optimists live 11-15 years longer than those who don't look on the brighter side of life as much.
Find out what scientists believe determines this outcome below and what you can do to become more of an optimist...
What is the link between your outlook on life and how long you live?
It seems strange that how you view the world around you could affect how long you live but based on these two studies and others more, it is the case...
But why so?
Well, firstly, researchers have found that optimists take better care of themselves. They follow a healthier diet and exercise, more so than those with a cloudier outlook on life. They're also less likely to smoke or drink excessively.
We know a healthier lifestyle reduces the risk of chronic diseases, like diabetes
, heart disease
This in itself prolongs life.
A healthier lifestyle accounted for 24% of the associated reasons for a longer life.
But another reason is the way optimists handle stress
They manage it better by finding resolutions for the source of the stressor so as to eliminate it.
This is what's known as adaptive coping strategies - which involves confronting problems directly, making reasonably realistic appraisals of the problem, and recognising and changing unhealthy emotional reactions.
So, they become good at minimising the effect of stress
on their physical wellbeing.
Keep reading to find out how you can work at becoming more of an optimist...
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Can you become an optimist?
If you've always looked at life in a shadow, it will take a conscious effort to become more of an optimist, but you can improve your outlook.
Start with your lifestyle...
The best thing you can do to live longer is to improve your lifestyle - exercise daily and follow and healthydiet. Drink lots of water.
Manage stress better...
Problem-solve and find solutions to eliminate your source of stress. Ask for help, get creative and overcome its hold on you.
Train your mind to be positive...
Tell yourself things are going to be okay while you problem-solve. Notice the good things - even in bad times. Use positive talk - spin your bad thoughts so that you're not constantly in a state of worry... And visualise a positive outcome to your situations.
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