Being an optimist may help you live longer

In a new study, researchers found being optimistic could help prevent heart attacks, strokes, and early death.

They found that optimists had a 35% lower risk for the most serious complications due to heart disease, compared to pessimists.

The research was conducted by a team from Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Hospital.

The team reviewed 15 studies that involved almost 230,000 men and women.

In these studies, researchers asked basic questions about expectations of the future.

In response, some participants indicated that they generally felt upbeat despite the uncertainty of what’s to come. Others said they never assume that things will pan out well down the road.

Over time, those who held more positive viewpoints were more likely to have chronic diseases.

The team also found the more positive one’s outlook, the less one’s risk for heart trouble or death.

The team explains that optimistic people may be more adept at problem-solving, better at developing coping mechanisms, and more apt to realize goals.

These skills that could drive someone to take a more active interest in monitoring and maintaining their health.

Optimistic people may have better health habits. They are more likely to have good diets and exercise. They may be less likely to smoke.

The data also suggests that optimism may have direct biological benefits, whereas pessimism may be health-damaging.

Positivity may help lower inflammation and improve metabolism.

Researchers suggest future work needs to examine if optimism is an independent predictor of superior cardiac health.

The lead author of the study is Dr. Alan Rozanski, a professor of cardiology at Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Hospital in New York City.

The study is published in the journal JAMA Network Open.

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