We are always looking for ways to live longer – and a new study shows, it might just be as simple as a positive mindset.
Focusing on the upside of life could be the theme for research focusing on a key component of living a longer life; it may stem from optimism.
According to a recent study from CNN, men and women with the highest levels of optimism had an 11% to 15% longer life span on average than those who practiced little positive thinking.
The highest-scoring optimists also had the greatest odds of living to age 85 or beyond.
Optimism doesn’t mean ignoring life’s stressors, but rather when negative things happen, optimistic people are less likely to blame themselves and more likely to see the obstacle as temporary or even positive. They also believe they have control over their fate and can create opportunities for good things to happen in the future.
The study also found women with the highest levels of optimism had 1.5 greater odds of living to 85 or beyond, compared to those with the lowest levels of optimism.
Highly optimistic men had 1.7 greater odds of living to that age over the more pessimistic.
Again, those relationships remained true even after adjusting for health behaviors.
Professor of Psychiatry at the university of Wisconsin-Madison and the founder and director of the Richard Davidson says optimism is one important psychological dimension that has emerged as showing some really interesting associations with health.
Davidson found only 30 minutes of meditation a day produced a measurable change in the brain.
But it doesn’t have to be meditation.
There are other activities that can boost optimism such as writing out goals, keeping a journal of positive thoughts, and acting grateful for the little wins.