Can Optimism Add Years to Your Life?

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health factors were often omitted from longevity metrics. We know how influential diet is to this equation and the same can be said for exercise and sleep quality. Now a recent paper authored by a team of Harvard researchers pinpoints the dispositions that meaningfully contribute.

The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences defines optimism as the general expectation that good things will happen because one can control important outcomes. The study was conducted on 70,000 women over the course of eight years. In that time frame, participants who maintained an optimistic outlook reduced their chances of succumbing to the following conditions:

  • Heart cancer by as much as 16%
  • Heart disease by as much as 38%
  • Respiratory disease by as much as 38%
  • Stroke by as much as 39%

Excerpted from Ladders

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