Medical newspaper online, 08/26/2019
According to the researcher, one who looks at his life optimistically has various advantages. And: you can learn to be optimistic.
The good news: optimists live longer! It also has to do with the fact that they are recovering from stressful situations and not from pessimists.
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BOSTON. Optimists are more likely to age than pessimists. This was shown by US researchers in a study (doi: 10.1073 / pnas.1900712116), which found that people who have a positive attitude to life are particularly likely to become 85 or older. Many factors probably play a role here. Scientists recommend training that promotes optimism.
Who lives longer, optimists or pessimists? The study situation on this issue has been contradictory so far. Thus, pessimists were treated as more concerned with their health, while optimists were less sensitive to certain diseases, such as depression or cardiovascular disease. New research now shows that old people are becoming optimistic. The revelations appeared in "Proceedings" of the American Academy of Sciences ("PNAS").
What did the design of the study look like?
Lewin Lee's team at Boston University School of Medicine has used two databases that have been used for decades to store the medical history of certain professions. Researchers provided information on the health and lifestyle of nearly 70,000 nurses and 1,429 veterans.
Everyone also used questionnaires and tests to determine whether they were more optimistic or pessimistic. The researchers divided the women into four groups – from very optimistic to very pessimistic. There were five groups for men.
Result: Women in the most optimistic group lived on average 15 percent longer than those in the most pessimistic group. The researchers analyzed women who had similar demographics and pre-existing conditions. For optimistic men, the difference in life was eleven percent.
The chance of becoming 85 or older was 50 percent higher for the group of strongest optimists than for the strongest pessimists. For men, the difference in the study was 70 percent.
What is a longer life?
Scientists also wanted to find out whether higher life expectancy could be due to the fact that optimists generally live healthier, for example, go to the doctor more regularly, smoke less or drink less, and exercise more. If scholars included such lifestyle differences, the result was weakened, but optimists still had a clear advantage. They also lived longer in similar lifestyles.
Therefore, researchers assume that optimists have even greater life benefits: “Other studies suggest that optimistic people can better regulate their emotions and behavior. And they are recovering from stressful situations and difficulties, "says co-author Laura Kubzansky of Boston University's medical press release.
Also, optimists could be better socially integrated, which could also affect their lifespan.
Although optimism is partly genetic but also scientific, researchers say, "This study is of great importance for public health because it suggests that optimism is one of the psychological factors that can prolong human life. Interestingly, the degree of optimism can be affected. There are pretty simple methods and therapies, ”said first author Lewina Lee in communication.
You can learn optimism
Theoretically, although the inference may be that very sick people are quite pessimistic and simply die earlier, the researchers wrote in the study. But they knocked out those people who died shortly after the study began. Even if people who had chronic conditions were expelled at the beginning of the study, the results did exist.
Researchers have defined an optimist as a person who believes that good things will happen or that the future is desirable because certain goals can be pursued.
According to Ralph Schliewenz of the Professional Association of German Psychologists, this self-efficacy is an important aspect: "Optimists feel they have control of things. And you can learn that feeling. You can set achievable goals. Evaluate your options, take small steps, be realistic. is a way to be optimistic. " (AP)
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