Being Optimistic Gives You Longer Life, New Study Claims

By Christie Abagon , Dec 09, 2016 01:39 AM EST

Stay optimistic! Do not underestimate the power of positive thinking.  A recent study shows women who looks at the brighter side of things are more likely to live longer compared to those who are not as positive about life.

Optimistic Women Are Less Likely To Die From Major Illnesses

Researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that women who were optimistic had a significantly lower risk of dying from major diseases like cancer, heart disease and stroke, compared to women who have less positive outlook.

Kaitlin Hagan, co-lead author of the study, told CBS news: "Optimism in prior research has been shown to be related to better health behaviors and better health outcomes, particularly in cardiovascular disease.  So in our study we wanted to expand that and look at all-cause mortality and be able to see whether optimism improves other health behaviors that then affects mortality, or whether there's an independent effect of optimism on mortality."

Researchers used data from 70,021 women who participated in the long-running research, Nurses' Health Study.  The participants were asked to answer six questions about optimism, and the results showed that the most optimistic women, has a 16 percent lower risk of dying from cancer; 38 percent lower from heart and respiratory diseases; and 39 percent lower from stroke.

'Optimistic People Are Likely To Have Better Diets'

The study does not prove a cause-and-effect relationship, but the researchers came up with a theory.  "It's a combination.  If you're more optimistic, you tend to have healthier behaviors. Optimistic people are likely to have better diets, they're exercising more, and they're getting better sleep," Hagan said.

So how do people stay optimistic? Researchers suggest just be grateful for every day, or write down things that make you happy.  Being kind to others and help them be optimistic about life greatly helps, too.

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