When you think about the future, do you expect good or bad things to happen?
If you weigh in on the “good” side, you’re an optimist. And that has positive implications for your health in later life.
Multiple studies show a strong association between higher levels of optimism and a reduced risk of conditions such as heart disease, stroke and cognitive impairment. Several studies have also linked optimism with greater longevity.
One of the latest, published this year, comes from researchers at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health in collaboration with colleagues at other universities. It found that older women who scored highest on measures of optimism lived 4.4 years longer, on average, than those with the lowest scores. Results held true across races and ethnicities.
Why would optimism make such a difference?