More and more research has been showing that people who are optimistic – those of us who generally expect good things to happen in our lives – may have a reduced risk of certain health problems, like heart disease.
Psychologists at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health have now released a new study that gives us even more to feel positive about. They found that women who are the most optimistic are least likely to die – from any cause.
Optimism seems to steer us towards a more wholesome lifestyle. And when problems do crop up, optimism helps us manage them in a healthier way: more workouts, fewer benders.
The best part is, you can make yourself optimistic. In earlier research, it’s been shown that just by concentrating on a positive outcome, or jotting down a few notes about what that would look like – I will nail that job interview, I will have a super-awesome time when my in-laws visit – you can heighten your own optimism.
Naturally, doing good deeds will also turn up your happy dial. Not only will you get a helper’s high, thanks to that inevitable rush of endorphins, but we predict you’ll also have a brighter outlook on life. How can you not feel optimistic when your act of kindness has directly resulted in more research for leukemia, or a warm meal for a homeless person?
And now we know that you could be lengthening your life at the same time.