Studies continue to prove the benefits of optimism and positive health. The relationship is proven: feeling good about life in general results in being better physically and mentally.
Here is a study by the Mayo Clinic, first started in 1962. In the early 1960’s, researchers from Mayo administered personality tests to approximately 500 participants. Participants were identified as either being optimistic about life or pessimistic. The subjects were tracked for over 30 years. The results? The optimists had higher overall scores in terms of their overall health. More significantly, optimists had about a 50% higher survival rate.
Mayo Clinic listed some of the health benefits of positive thinking:
- Longer life span
- Less stress
- Less depression
- Increased resistance to illness, including the common cold
- Better stress management and coping skills
- Lower risk of cardiovascular disease illness
- Increased physical well-being
- Better overall psychological health
There are several hypotheses as to why optimism has such a positive impact on physical and mental health. One theory is that people who think positively tend to be less affected by stress. Another belief is that people who think positively tend to live healthier lives in general; they may exercise more, follow a more nutritious diet and avoid unhealthy behaviors.
Whatever the reason, optimism is the preferred choice.
- How would you rate yourself on a scale of optimism-pessimism?
- What do you do to maintain a positive attitude?
- How can you help others become more optimistic?
“When you are asked if you can do a job, tell ‘em, ‘Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it.”