Being Positive Will Help You Live Longer

Being positive

Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn on the light.

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Yes, I just quoted Dumbledore. But I love this saying. Even when things are really tough, remember that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Positive thinking such as this may actually help you live longer.

A new study from the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health has found that optimism is associated with a reduced risk of death from stroke, respiratory disease, infection and cancer. Using data from about 70,000 women in a long-term study, the team found that the risk of dying from disease was almost 30% less among those more optimistic.

Specifically, the women were 16% less likely to die of cancer, about 40% less likely to die from heart or cardiovascular disease, and 52% less likely to die of infection.

It seems as though just the act of positivity can have true biological function benefits. High levels of optimism are associated with lower inflammation, healthier lipid levels, and higher antioxidants.

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Optimistic people also tend to have better health habits. “Studies show that optimistic people exercise more, eat healthier diets and have higher quality sleep," said Eric Kim, a research fellow in the department of social and behavioral sciences at Harvard and co-lead author on the study.

"Optimistic people also use healthier coping styles," he said. "When confronted with life challenges, optimists use healthier coping methods like acceptance of circumstances that cannot be changed, planning for further challenges, creating contingency plans, and seeking support from others when needed."

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SOURCE: Eric Kim, Ph.D., research fellow, department of social and behavioral sciences, department of epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; American Journal of Epidemiology

Photo Credit:
By Joy Coffman from San Diego, CA, US - Happiness..., CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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