Optimists live longer

Who lives longer, optimists or pessimists? The Study of this question is contradictory. So the pessimists have been given the benefit of the that they care more about their health, optimists, however, have shown less susceptible to certain diseases such as depression or cardiovascular disease. A new study says now: Really old rather optimists, the researchers report in the journal of the US National Academy of Sciences “PNAS”are.

The Team Lewina Lee of the Boston University School of Medicine used two databases in which, for decades, the medical history of certain professional groups will be stored. Thus, the researchers got information about the health and the life of almost 70,000 nurses and 1429 veterans.

The optimist inside live 15 percent longer

All participants had given in the questionnaires, whether they are optimistic or pessimistic. The researchers defined optimists as people who believe that good things will happen or that the future is desirable, because they can achieve certain goals. The researchers divided the women into four groups – from very optimistic to very pessimistic. In the case of men, there were five groups.

The result: The women in the most optimistic group lived an average of 15 percent longer than the most pessimistic group. The researchers analyzed only women who had similar demographic characteristics and pre-existing conditions. In the case of optimistic men, the difference in life time was eleven percent.

The Chance to be 85 or older, was in the group of the strongest optimist inside of a 50 per cent larger than the most pessimistic on the inside. For men, the difference in the study was 70 percent.

The study, however, can only show that an optimistic beings is often associated with a longer life expectancy. It cannot be excluded that the Healthier individuals are, by nature, more optimistic. The lower disease rates would then explain directly to the live setting.

The scientists investigated, therefore, whether the increase in life expectancy could be due to the fact that optimists are generally healthier life, so, for example, a regular doctor, less Smoking or drinking alcohol, and exercise more. In fact, the difference between the subjects weakened, as the researchers expected these differences in the way of life out, he disappeared but not quite.

“This study has great public health relevance, because it suggests that optimism is one of the psychological factors that can prolong a man’s life,” says first author Lee.

Positive thoughts can cure cancer

However, the effect of positive thoughts should not be overestimated. So, the Belief persists that cancer is psychological. In a representative survey conducted by the cancer information service of the German cancer research center (DKFZ), agreed to 61 percent with the statement that emotional stress, and Stress can trigger cancer. Clear scientific evidence, there is not. On the contrary (read more here).

Nevertheless, optimism can have a positive effect on mental health, says Ralph Schliewenz from the professional Association of German psychologists: “optimists have the feeling that you have things under control. And this feeling can you learn to be also. You can set achievable goals. The possibilities to estimate, take small steps, be realistic. This is a way to optimism.”