Dr. Gary Small, M.D.

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Gary Small, M.D., is Chair of Psychiatry at Hackensack University Medical Center, and Physician in Chief for Behavioral Health Services at Hackensack Meridian Health, New Jersey’s largest, most comprehensive and integrated healthcare network. Dr. Small has often appeared on the TODAY show, Good Morning America, and CNN and is co-author (with his wife Gigi Vorgan) of 10 popular books, including New York Times bestseller, “The Memory Bible,” “The Small Guide to Anxiety,” and “The Small Guide to Alzheimer’s Disease.”

Tags: optimism | aging | depression | mental health

Optimism Increases Lifespan

Dr. Small By Thursday, 15 September 2016 04:04 PM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

Mayo Clinic investigators have found that positive thinking not only leads to better mental and physical fitness, but longer life expectancy.

Volunteers who scored high in optimism on the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory had a 50 percent greater likelihood of survival over a 30-year period.
The optimists had fewer physical and emotional difficulties, less pain, and higher energy levels.

A positive attitude also lowers the risk of depression, as optimists tend to avoid the type of negative thinking that ruins good moods. In addition, they take medical advice more seriously, anticipating how it may benefit them.

Researchers at Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark investigated the immune system as another possible mechanism for showing the link between positive thinking and health.

They found that older volunteers with negative attitudes had higher white blood cell levels, as if their bodies were trying to fight off a disease.

Their findings suggest that negative attitudes might stimulate the same kind of physiological response as when the body is fighting infection.

Optimists are more likely to feel content with their lives, and such self-satisfaction has also been associated with better health outcomes.

Investigators in Finland found that satisfied individuals were twice as likely as dissatisfied ones to survive 20 years after initial analysis.

Positive thoughts about aging offer an additional survival advantage. Yale University scientists studied the life expectancy attitudes of 700 volunteers who were tracked for more than two decades.

Older individuals lived seven and a half years longer if they viewed their aging in a positive light, compared to those who considered aging as a negative experience.

The conclusion is simple: If you anticipate healthy and satisfying golden years, that expectation is more likely to come true.

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Volunteers who scored high in optimism on the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory had a 50 percent greater likelihood of survival over a 30-year period.
optimism, aging, depression, mental health
Thursday, 15 September 2016 04:04 PM
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