Positive expectations lead to a longer, healthier life, new research shows

Optimists live 4.4 years longer on average and have a greater chance of reaching 90 years than those who look at the world tragically.

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Positive people live 4.4 years longer on average and are more likely to reach 90 years of age than those looking at a depressed world, according to a study by Harvard University and Boston University School of Medicine.

Researchers collected data on nearly 160,000 women enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative from 1993 to 1998. The study followed postmenopausal women from all races and ethnicities for 26 years – or as long as they were alive at the time – and tested their positive responses. and negative statements in the questionnaire.

Aspects of a healthy lifestyle such as exercise, healthy eating habits, smoking and alcohol use accounted for less than a quarter of the organization living a long and healthy life, according to the study.

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“Our findings suggest that it is beneficial to focus on positive psychological factors, such as optimism, new ways to improve longevity and healthy aging across a wide range of groups,” Hayami Koga, a leading author and postdoctoral student at Harvard, said in a press statement.

“While hope in itself may be influenced by aspects of social structure, such as race and ethnicity, our research shows that the benefits of optimism can be felt in all different groups,” notes Koga.

The researchers found that the most optimistic women – those 25 percent of the group – lived 5.4 percent longer and had a 10 percent higher chance of living more than 90 years than their peers at the lowest level.

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The benefits persist even when considering life-threatening challenges such as depression, chronic illness and poor education.

Previous research has linked the benefits of optimism with a healthy diet and exercise habits as well as better cardiovascular function and immune system.

Although optimism is partly inherited, it is also influenced by the way we respond to life’s challenges. Meta analysis from 2016 found one of the best ways to increase hope through the “Best Possible Self” method. It invites people to think about the future when all their goals and desires will be fulfilled.

Some strategists recommend having a better perspective including keeping a journal of gratitude, focusing on what we have achieved and seeing our obstacles as temporary – or as opportunities we hide.

Although the reason for optimism in life is unknown, chronic stress has been linked to an increased risk of physical problems, the authors point out. This including changes in brain chemistry, high blood pressure and heart problems.

Positive expectations lead to a longer, healthier life, new research shows

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