Being an optimist has its obvious advantages - but a somewhat unexpected and now scientifically studied advantage is that optimism is linked to longevity. Researchers from Harvard Medical School, among others, have come to this conclusion.
The American researchers used existing databases, and the study included just over 69,000 women and just over 1,400 men. To determine the degree of optimism among the people in the study, the women had done a "Revised Life Orientation Test," and the men had completed a test called "Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2".
When the study began, the average age in the group of woman was 70 years, and the average age of the men was 60 years.
The people in the study were followed up after ten and 30 years. The researchers examined whether those who indicated a higher degree of optimism were more likely to pass 85 years old, which was categorized as an "exceptionally long life." After checking for health factors as well as social factors, they found that optimism is linked to having the luck of celebrating the 86th birthday, and more.
Strong social network boosts longlivety
Women who were highly optimistic had an almost 15 percent longer life compared to those who showed the lowest degree of optimism. For men, the figure was an 11 percent longer life. To make a comparison, women who were NOT diagnosed with type 2 diabetes had a 17 percent longer life than those who were diagnosed. Not only the most optimistic people lived longer lifes, there was also an association between longevity and being in the second most optimistic group.
Other things that the researchers found were linked to optimism and living longer were strong social ties such as being married and having close friends.
Read the full study here.