I often blog about the importance of being optimistic, or to put it another way, to have faith. Some call it a Positive Mental Attitude. But no matter what you call it, everyone seems to agree that your life will be better in many ways if you are optimistic. The following is from a free ebook I recieved from Mayo Clinic (one of the best hospitals in the world). The name of the ebook is “Live Longer, Live Better”
As you make your way through life and the various transitions it brings, you’ll find that an optimistic attitude can make your days more enjoyable and less stressful. But did you know that your attitude also plays a role not only in how well you’ll live but also in how long you may live? Your mind and your body are closely intertwined.
Optimists live longer
Increasing evidence suggests that being an optimist or a pessimist has an effect on your health. One particular Dutch study found that older adults with an optimistic disposition — people who generally expected good things rather than bad things to happen — lived longer than did those who tended to expect doom and gloom.
At the beginning of the study, more than 900 participants filled out surveys that assessed their well-being, including their sense of optimism. The survey asked participants to respond to statements such as “I often feel that life is full of promises” and “I do not make any future plans.” After accounting for factors such as age, sex, smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity, socio-economic status and marital status, those who scored high on the optimism scale had a 29 percent lower risk of early death than did participants who scored low.
In this study, a positive outlook appeared to be particularly protective against death from cardiovascular problems. Highly optimistic participants were 77 percent less likely to die of a heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular event than were highly pessimistic participants. These results held true regardless of whether the participants had a history of cardiovascular disease or high blood pressure.
A study conducted at Mayo Clinic reported similar results. Researchers examined the relationship between explanatory styles — how individuals explained the causes of life’s events — of more than 800 participants and the group’s mortality rate during a 30-year period. The researchers found that individuals who had a more pessimistic explanatory style died younger than did those who were more optimistic.
Participants who were classified as optimists tended to believe that the causes of bad events were temporary, not their own fault and limited to the present circumstances. Pessimists, on the other hand, tended to blame things on themselves, felt that the current situation was going to last forever and felt that the bad event would undermine everything.
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