Do you want a healthy and long life ? There is a easist method.
A study of 100,000 women presented at the American Psychosomatic Society's annual meeting Thursday found a strong correlation between optimism and a person's risk for cancer-related death, heart disease and early death.
Researchers surveyed the personality traits of middle-age women in 1994 as part of the Women's Health Initiative study run by the National Institutes of Health
Highy optimistic people have significantly lower death rates. Optimistic coronary bypass patients are half as likely as pessimists to require re-hospitalization.
People with positive emotions have lower blood pressure. The most pessimistic men are more than twice as likely to develop heart disease compared with the most optimistic.
But is it optimism that makes people healthy, or do healthy people understandably have a brighter outlook?
To get a better handle on things, scientists have adjusted their analyses in recent years to account for pre-existing medical conditions. Studies that made these adjustments found that existing illnesses don't negate the benefits of optimism, according to the May 2008 issue of Harvard Men’s Health Watch.
In one example of how humans keep their spirits up no matter what, researchers found older people suffering various illnesses still said they thought they were aging well. Another study found that the sick and disabled don't wallow in misery as is commonly believed.
Optimism, another study found, triggers activity in the same brain area that is known to malfunction among the depressed.
But why is optimism so beneficial?
Perhaps optimists enjoy better health and longer lives because they lead healthier lifestyles, build stronger social support networks, and get better medical care, the Health Watch article suggested.
Also, stress is known to kill, releasing hormones that cause deterioration of everything from your gums to your heart. Optimists might have lower levels of stress hormones.
Heredity could play a role, too. It is possible that genes predispose some people to optimism, and that the same genes affect health and longevity.
More study is needed, the Health Watch article contends, because it's likely that multiple mechanisms are involved.