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Optimistic Women Live Longer

The Power of Positive Thinking: Optimists Live Longer

Do you see this glass as half full or half empty? Careful now: how you answer could determine the length of your life.

This may not come as much of a surprise, but optimists live longer. Using data from 100,000 women over age 50, the Women's Health Initiative, which began in 1994, found that self-described optimists were more likely to be alive after the first eight years of tracking participants' health. While these optimists were less likely to die from any cause, research found that 30 percent of participating women were less likely to die from heart disease, the leading cause of death in women in the US. Conversely, pessimistic women had a "higher overall death rate," and they were also 23 percent more likely to die from conditions related to cancer.

This, the first study to focus on women and optimism versus pessimism, took many factors into account when determining the longevity of the positive thinkers, and winnowed out factors like income, education, health behaviors, smoking, and physical activity. Researchers believe that optimists in general have larger social networks to turn to during crises, and that they just cope better with stress, which has been associated with heart disease.

So look at that glass again, and try to see it as half full. It will do you a world of good. DearSugar is curious about your state of mind too, and wants to know if you're having a hard time feeling optimistic?


Join The Conversation
delightfairy delightfairy 8 years
I'm naturally optimistic, but still with my feet on the ground. :)
careyrowland careyrowland 8 years
Hey, ladies, relax, make lots of friends, look on the bright side, believe in Jesus, do not deny the love of a good man when he proposes, exercise enough to work the sugar and carbs off , and you'll do just fine. Carey Rowland, author of Glass half-Full
i-heart-monster i-heart-monster 8 years
i'm a natural pessimist, but i'm working on turning that around. it takes a constant effort to recognize the negative behavior, and it's hard, but my doctor told me i really need to do it.
Spectra Spectra 8 years
I'm naturally optimistic, sometimes overly so. But it's good to know that I probably am not under as much physiological stress as my husband, who's always pessimistic about everything. I tend to be a lot more easygoing than he is.
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
I need to work on this... I tend to get "amped" up over stuff and harp when stressed out...
bethinabox bethinabox 8 years
I guess I'm somewhat of an optimist. I also don't get stressed out easily, so that's good too I guess. :P
superfoxml superfoxml 8 years
most definitely, something i oughtta work on. at this rate i'll die by 40, lol. i think it's so true though, that optimism fosters other positive habits and choices, so it's a no brainer that you would live longer.
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