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Optimism Increases Lifespan

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Thursday, 15 Sep 2016 04:04 PM 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
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2016-04-15
Thursday, 15 Sep 2016 04:04 PM
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