A series of studies done in the US and Europe show that optimism can have a positive impact on health and longevity. Here are some highlights of the different studies (read full article here ):
For six months following coronary artery bypass surgery, optimistic patients were half as likely to require re-hospitalization.
Similar results were found for angioplasty patients. Pessimists were 3 times more likely to have heart attacks or repeat angioplasty or bypass procedures within 6 months.
Highly pessimistic men were three times more likely to develop high blood pressure over a four year period than their optimistic counterparts, even after other risk factors taken into consideration.
One 10-year study found that the most pessistic men were more than twice as likely to develop heart disease than the most optimistic men, also after other risk factors taken into account.
Optimism was also linked to better outcomes on 8 measures of physical and mental functions of health after a 30-year period.
Based on the research done, it appears that having a positive outlook can have a positive impact on our health.
Why is it that optimism is good for health? I think it has to do with optimistic people realizing that they can change and be healthier. They are more likely to make the health changes necessary to avoid chronic diseases.
Pessimistic people may be more likely to make excuses and not do anything to change their health. I guess the biggest question is how do you get people to think positive?
The bottom line is that thinking positive and being optimistic about life and health can have some great benefits.