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Women Who Are More Positive May Live Longer

( [email protected] ) Dec 09, 2016 09:31 AM EST
Up to 30% of risk of dying from disease is lowered in women who are optimists.
Research from Harvard shows that women who expect the best in every situation have a longer life. Flickr

Women who always see a silver lining in everything, and consider the glass half-full may live longer than those who always see the glass half-empty.

This is according to research conducted by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Eric Kim, who is the co-lead author of the study that was published in the American Journal of Epidemilogy, says he and his colleagues have found that seeing all things in a positive way can boost women's health.

"This study shows that optimism is associated with reduced risk of death from stroke, respiratory disease, infection and cancer," said Eric Kim, co-lead author of the investigation.

For this particular study, data was taken from 2004 up to 2012 on around 70,000 women. They were asked to agree or disagree with six statements  and had to use a five-point scale to determine their answer.

The results showed a significant 30% lower risk from dying in the diseases analyzed in the study for the top 25%, or the most optimistic women, as compared to the lowest 25%, their pessimistic counterparts. A specific example would be that dying from cancer was 16% lower, dying from an infection was 52% lower and dying from heart disease was 38% lower.

This is not the first research to find the good effects of being optimistic to health. Last year, a study by the University of Illinois found that people who think positively were twice as likely to have better heart health.

But the Harvard research has also focused on the mental attitude, as being optimistic can be associated with healthier behavior and coping mechanism.

"It's a combination," Kaitlin Hagan, co-lead author of the study said. "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 further says that optimism "directly impacts our biological functioning." There is lower inflammation and lipid levels in people who are optimistic it seems.

The authors of the study say that there may be some people who consider themselves pessimistic and that it will never change, but there are things they can do so that they can have a more positive outlook in life. Kim says that what one can do is to think of the best possible outcome in all domains of a person's life, whether career, friendship or etc.

Hagan also suggested writing something they are grateful about each and every day and also doing random acts of kindness can also boost one's outlook in life. 

Tags : Health news, Positivity