Optimistic people are easier to be around, and their enthusiasm can be contagious, but did you know that optimism may lower your risk of stroke, cancer, and other serious illnesses? A recent study of 70,000 women from the American Journal of Epidemiology provides strong support for a positive attitude.
The findings are compelling. In this long-running study, more optimistic women enjoyed a 16% lower risk of death from cancer, 40% lower risk from cardiovascular or respiratory disease, and a 50% lower likelihood of death from infectious diseases over the course of about 8 years. Optimism was measured based on responses to a survey, and other health behaviors and conditions were taken into account in order to limit any mitigating factors.
In a report for Health Day, reporter Don Rauf reviewed the study and got opinions from experts around the country, including me. The important message is that optimism is not a fixed character trait. It can be nurtured and developed. As I told Rauf, “It’s easier to feel optimistic when you feel healthy and energetic. By choosing a healthy lifestyle, you may open yourself up to greater gratitude and create more energy for deeper relationships and professional satisfaction.”
To read more about the study, and to learn strategies to improve your sense of optimism, click on the link below.