New Study Claims People Who Are Optimistic Are More Likely To Live Longer Lives… But I Doubt It
A new study claims people who are optimistic will not only live longer, they also have a better chance of living to be at least 85-years-old.
Great news, right?! (I hope you said yes, or, well, I’m sorry.)
“A lot of evidence suggests that exceptional longevity is usually accompanied by a longer span of good health and living without disability, so our findings raise an exciting possibility that we may be able to promote healthy and resilient ageing by cultivating psychosocial assets such as optimism,” said Dr. Lewina Lee, the lead author of the study performed at the Boston University School of Medicine.
According to the study, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal…
“Previous studies reported that more optimistic individuals are less likely to suffer from chronic diseases and die prematurely. Our results further suggest that optimism is specifically related to 11 to 15% longer life span, on average, and to greater odds of achieving “exceptional longevity,” that is, living to the age of 85 or beyond. These relations were independent of socioeconomic status, health conditions, depression, social integration, and health behaviors (e.g., smoking, diet, and alcohol use). Overall, findings suggest optimism may be an important psychosocial resource for extending life span in older adults.”
After analyzing data from two previous long-term research projects on optimism’s effect on longevity, they discovered the most optimistic group of women had a lifespan almost 15% longer than the least optimistic. As for men, they learned that the most optimistic men had lifespans almost 11% longer than the least optimistic group.
They suggest the reason for this disparity, according to their research, is because people are more optimistic might also lead a healthier lifestyle including more exercise levels, better diet, less smoking and consumption of less alcohol.
But being optimistic was not only linked to a longer lifespan. For men and women it was also linked more specifically to living to 85 or older – “exceptional longevity” when health behaviours were taken into account, with the most optimistic group of women having 20% better odds of reaching age 85 than the least.
In assessing the study, Dr. Catherine Hurt, an expert in health psychology at City, University of London, said, “The results suggest that as well as educating and encouraging people to eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly to maximise longevity we should also be promoting psychological wellbeing and the importance of optimism. An optimistic outlook appears to be a key part of a healthy lifestyle.”