According to research reported in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association, a positive outlook on life might lower the risk of having a stroke. Optimism was defined as the expectation that more good things, rather than bad, will happen.
The researchers studied 6,044 adults over the age 50. The researchers followed participants for two years. They concluded that people who expect the best things in life actively take steps to promote health. Previous research showed that an optimistic attitude is related to improved health outcomes and enhanced immune system functioning. The protective effect of optimism may also contribute to positive behavioral choices that people make, such as taking vitamins, eating a healthy diet and exercising.
Other health benefits have found that more optimistic people have a healthier immune system, faster wound healing, and a lower risk of heart disease.
What about the alternative view? Perhaps Nelson Mandela best summarizes it best in his autobiography Long Walk to Freedom: Autobiography of Nelson Mandela:
“I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.”
- What percentage of the day do you wear a smile as opposed to a frown?
- Do you believe the choices you make about diet, exercise, and lifestyle are contributing to a healthy life?
- Do you believe that more good things will happen than bad? How does appear to effect the outcome?
Choose to be optimistic, it feels better.”