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Smile! You’ll live longer

March 24, 2022

Could a rosy outlook be the key to a longer, healthier life?

A new study by the Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System probes the link between a positive outlook and better health.

Could a rosy outlook be the key to a longer, healthier life? New study probes the link between a positive outlook and better healthScientists found that while optimists reacted to, and recovered from, stressful situations in much the same way as pessimists, optimists fared better emotionally because they had fewer stressful events in their daily lives.

How optimists minimize their dose of stress is unclear, but the researchers believe they either avoid arguments, lost keys, traffic jams and other irritations or simply fail to perceive them as stressful in the first place.

Using information provided by 233 men who were at least 21 years old when they enrolled in the US Veterans Affairs Normative Ageing Study between 1961 and 1970, information regarding their levels of optimism was first gathered in the 1980s and 90s.

Between 2002 and 2010, they completed up to three eight-day-long diary entries that recorded their mood and any stressful situations they encountered.

While the researchers suspected the optimists might bounce back more swiftly than pessimists and return to a good mood faster following a stressful event, the data did not reflect this.

Instead, the study revealed that those who felt more optimistic tended to report fewer daily stressors and limited their exposure to stressful situations in the first place.

The impact of stress on health can be significant and impact detrimentally on both our physical and emotional wellbeing.

Research by Harvard Medical School has found a link between stress and high blood pressure and heart disease.

It is also noted it can affect the human immune system making individuals more susceptible to colds and other common infections. Stress can also contribute to asthma, digestive disorders, cancer, and other health problems.

New research further supports the notion that high levels of stress can even speed up the ageing process.

With this in mind, perhaps we should all make an improved effort to ‘always look on the bright side of life.’

Related: Depression treatment hopes as brain ‘implant’ success hailed

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