Do you tend to see the glass as half full, rather than half empty? Are you always looking on the bright side of life? If so, you might be surprised to learn that this tendency could actually be good for your health. A number of studies have shown that optimists enjoy higher levels of well-being, better sleep, lower stress and even better cardiovascular health and immune function. And now, a study links being an optimist to a longer life.
Researchers tracked the life span of some 160,000 women ages 50 to 79 for 26 years. At the beginning of the study, the women completed a self-report measure of optimism. Women with the highest scores on the measure were categorized as optimists. Those with the lowest scores were considered pessimists.
Then, in 2019, the researchers followed up with the participants who were still living. They also looked at the life span of participants who had died. What they found was that those who had the highest levels of optimism were more likely to live longer. More important, the optimists were also more likely than those who were pessimists to live into their nineties. Researchers refer to this as “exceptional longevity,” considering the average life span for women in developed countries is about 83 years.
Excerpted from The Washington Post