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A Little Optimism Can Lead to a Longer Life

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If you ever needed a reason to not hang out with pessimistic people, a new study should give you all the incentive you need.

According to a recent study from the Boston University School of Medicine, people who are optimistic live longer than those who have a darker view of the world. So, ditch those Debby downers and bring your positive self to a more optimistic environment!

The study included more than 69,000 female health professionals between the ages of 58-86 and more than 1,400 male veterans who ranged in age from 41 to 90. All of the participants were followed for 10 to 30 years. The study began with a questionnaire to gauge their level of optimism.

The study showed that people who reported the highest levels of optimism were 50 to 70% more likely to live beyond the age of 85. The study also revealed that the most optimistic people had life spans that were 11 to 15% longer than the people who were pessimistic.

This makes sense; if we are generally in a good mood and try to look at the brighter side of things, we are less likely to experience anxiety or stress. But people who indicated that they smoked, used alcohol, had a poor diet, or had low exercise levels did not meet the longer life span numbers indicated above. People’s behaviors certainly factor into the results.

People who feel good about themselves and are optimistic are more likely to live a healthier lifestyle. Many people struggle with smoking and alcohol due to negative patterns in their life. Being optimistic helps people recover from difficult moments in a quicker time span, thus helping to heal both the mind and the body.

These findings are very premature and need to be spread out amongst a more diverse population. The focus of this study mostly surrounded white people with high socioeconomic status. There are many more factors that need to be taken into account as well.