Could negativity affect your lifespan?
Have you ever considered how your attitude may be impacting your overall health? And could those people in your life who are always happy really have a leg-up on healthy aging, allowing them to live longer?
According to a study recently published in PNAS, there may be some truth to this. A team in Boston published a study that suggests a link between optimistic individuals and a higher likelihood to live past 85 years old.
The study aimed to see if there was a psychological component to healthy aging and if it could prolong an individual’s longevity. A group of men and women were given a survey to determine how optimistic they were based on how they would think or react to certain situations. In studying a group of men and women over several years, the results suggest that those who were considered to be more optimistic tended to have “an 11-15% longer lifespan, and had far great odds of reaching 85 years old.”
While this study did not determine what specifically factors into that longer life and exactly how optimism plays a role in that, another study suggests that this type of mentality could keep stress low, positively impacting heart health, for example.
Dr. Syeda Quadri, a family medical practitioner with Advocate Medical Group based in Lombard, Ill., says that while there isn’t a direct correlation between optimism and longevity, keeping an optimistic attitude can be beneficial in improving quality of life.
In her practice, she has seen many instances where patients who are able to look at their situation with a ‘glass half full’ mentality are typically more compliant with treatment plans, hence leading to better outcomes.
In any situation, a positive outlook can serve as a very effective tool, Dr. Quadri says.
About the Author
Stephanie Behling, health enews contributor, is an integrated marketing manager at Advocate Aurora Health Care in Downers Grove. She has an MBA from DePaul University, a BSLAS from the University of Illinois and 10 years experience in health care marketing. Stephanie is a new mom, loves spending time in Door County, Wisconsin and boating with her husband, son and their two dogs.