Optimism is linked to better outcomes for health and well-being – such as improved sleep – with hypothetical effects due in part to the association of optimism with “restorative health” processes.
A study published on July 30, 2019 in the journal PNAS supports the evidence that optimistic people live longer.
The findings suggest that optimism can be an important psycho-social resource for prolonging life.
OPTIMISM PROMOTES AGING IN GOOD HEALTH
Optimism is a psychological attribute characterized by the general expectation that good things will happen or the belief that the future will be favorable because we can control important results.
Research has identified many risk factors that increase the risk of illness and premature death, but there is still less known about the positive effects of psychosocial factors that can promote healthy aging.
The study included 71,173 participants, including 1,429 men, on which the researchers assessed their level of optimism, as well as their overall health and lifestyle (diet, smoking, alcohol consumption).
For this study, women were followed for 10 years and men for 30 years.
When individuals were compared based on their initial level of optimism, the researchers found that the most optimistic men and women had on average a longer life of 11 to 15% and a probability of 50 to 70%. % higher.
The results were maintained taking into account age, demographic factors such as educational level, chronic diseases, depression and also health-related behaviors, such as alcohol consumption, exercise, diet and primary care visits. This study is of particular interest for public health because it suggests that optimism is one of those psychosocial assets that can prolong the life of human life.
OPTIMISM CAN BE MODIFIED USING RELATIVELY SIMPLE TECHNIQUES OR THERAPIES
Other research suggests that more optimistic people may be able to regulate their emotions and behavior, as well as better withstand stressors and difficulties.
The researchers also believe that more optimistic people tend to have healthier habits.
This study contributes to scientific knowledge on non-drug means that can protect against the risk of mortality and promote slowing down of aging.
Most longevity research has focused on biomedical factors associated with survival, but recent work suggests that non-biological factors are also important.
Optimism is associated with longer life and can be a prime target for testing longevity strategies.
HOW TO BECOME MORE OPTIMISTIC?
Discover 8 examples of exercises to improve your optimism.
CONCENTRATE ON SOLUTIONS, NOT ON PROBLEMS.
If you are obsessed with a problem, if you have a negative feeling or if you have doubts about yourself, change course. Ask yourself what is the different thing to do that could improve the situation. Replacing problem-centered thinking with solution-centered thinking immediately gives you an idea of the forward movement, the possibility and the hope, the foundations of optimism.
FIND ANY IMPROVEMENT IN THE CURRENT SITUATION.
One way to practice optimism, think more positive, and move toward higher success is to get into the habit of looking for a solution for current situation, even the smallest one.
MINIMIZE OBSTACLES TO SUCCESS.
What types of distractions or obstacles prevent you from achieving your goals? Is this your to-do list? Unproductive habits? Negative people or saboteurs? One of the keys to optimism is to progress steadily, which means limiting distractions.
INVESTIGATE AN INTERNAL COACH.
Remember a model that has inspired and challenged you. Faced with a daunting task, ask yourself what this person would do.
OFFER EVERY DAY A REWARD.
Make it a habit to recognize completed steps and tasks. Take a few moments each day to ask what you have done and done well today. This simple gesture reinforces daily optimism. The answers accumulate and end up helping you develop your self-confidence, which is extremely important for success.
SURROUND YOUR POSITIVITY.
Spending time with negative people who continually see evil in all situations is a surefire way to make sure you continue to feel negative too. To help you stay optimistic, you need to surround yourself with positive people who help you appreciate the good in situations and in life in general. This also applies to other influences in your life such as music, literature and cinema. Surround yourself with positive influences and see the effects on your state of mind.
DEFINE NEGATIVE THOUGHTS.
Often, our negative thoughts are based only on our own fears, doubts, and low self-esteem. To help you overcome them, you must constantly challenge your negative thoughts. The next time you start having a negative feeling, write down what you feel, then write your arguments for and against these thoughts. Ask yourself what is the proof that these thoughts are true? What is the proof that they are not? You can even deliberately try to act against what you feel and see what happens. You may find that your negative predictions do not come true after all
STAY FOCUS ON POSITIVE POINTS.
It is important to remember that it is not the events themselves that make us unhappy, but rather our interpretation and our reaction to them. Although you cannot always change events, you can change your answer. When negative situations occur, try to reframe them by focusing on the positives or what you can learn from the situation. Perhaps you have gained strength and resilience, brought closer to a friend by sharing your grief or learned something about yourself. Do your best to focus on what you have learned and gained from your experience rather than what you have lost.