Expecting good things can be the key to a long life.
People who were optimistic had greater chances of achieving an "extraordinary longevity" or living above 85, as a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows.
This link was present in both genders and persisted even after the researchers considered smoking, alcohol intake, physical activity, diet, BMI and depression.
"Our team was surprised and reassured to see similar results in men and women," said Lewina Lee, assistant professor of psychiatry at the Boston University School of Medicine, TODAY.
"We know that optimism is approximately 25% inheritable, meaning that there is room for modification [it].
The study was based on data from 69,744 women in the Nurses' Health Study and 1
The women who have been persecuted since 1976 have an optimistic a The questionnaire asked how much they agree with statements such as "In times of uncertainty, I usually expect the best" or "I am always optimistic about my future" ,
The men tracked since 1961
The researchers then grouped both cohorts into groups based on their optimism levels (highest, lowest, and intermediate) and examined their mortality statistics. Both men and women were more optimistic with a longer life and a higher chance of reaching the age of 85 years.
Being in the group with the most positive outlook was associated with a 11-15% longer life span compared to the lowest optimistic group, the study found. The results suggest that optimism may be an important strategy for promoting healthy aging, the authors wrote.
Scientists do not fully understand the path from optimism to health and longevity, Lee said, but there are some theories.
Optimistic People It is more likely that they have goals and the confidence to achieve them. Optimism can therefore help people to cultivate and maintain healthier habits, she said. Previous studies have found that people with high optimism have a lower risk of premature death from stroke, heart disease and even cancer.
Optimistic people may be able to better regulate their emotions even in stressful situations. They are less likely to be angry or upset, said Josh Klapow, a clinical psychologist and behavioral scientist at the School of Public Health at the University of Alabama in Birmingham.
"It's not that people who are optimistic do not understand being stressed or not angry, but it's less common," said Klapow, who was not involved in the study, TODAY. "Physiologically, they are at a lower risk for all the negative consequences we have from stress."
In addition, they are more likely to make social connections because they see the good in people, he added. Such ties protect against loneliness, which is associated with their own serious health risks.
Some people are born more pessimistic by nature, but it is entirely possible that they will learn to be more positive, Klapow said.
"This is not about being happy," he said.
"We can be sad and hopeful; We can be sad and look for a better future. It is these things that have protective factors for us.
How To Promote Your Positive Thinking:
- Conduct a Daily Gratitude Practice: Keep a grateful journal and write down three or more things for which you're grateful for your life at the end of each day. It can be a supportive spouse, healthy children, a sunny day or a dedicated job.
- Keep an eye on the positive events in your life: Write down three or more positive events every night that happened that day. Maybe your boss made an encouraging comment, you spent time with your friends, or the commuter traffic was surprisingly good.
- Imagine your best possible self: Imagine a regular and clear future in which everything has developed so well and you have reached all of your life goals.
Studies have shown that such daily exercises align your brain with the search for the positive.
"We spend a lot of time looking for things in the world that could hurt us or hurt things that went wrong and that we do not want to happen again," Klapow said.
"So, if you force your brain to search for things that you're grateful for, and positive things teach your brain that we can avoid both negative and negative looking positive. "