Weekend Reading: Why Optimists Live Longer Than the Rest of Us

This article appears as part of Casey Weade's Weekend Reading for Retirees series. Every Friday, Casey highlights four hand-picked articles on trending retirement topics and delivers them straight to your email inbox. Get on the list here.
Weekend reading optimisits live longer Weekend reading optimisits live longer
Weekend Reading

Do you carry a “glass half-full mentality”? If so, new research shows it could maximize your longevity.

The power of positivity: According to a study that analyzed women aged 50 and older, those who reported they were optimists were more likely to live into their 90s. Even more interesting, these results remained after other lifestyle factors were added in, such as education level, economic status, ethnicity and chronic health conditions.

Although this study solely focused on females, further recent research including both men and women has shown that “people with the highest levels of optimism enjoyed a life span that was between 11 and 15 percent longer than those who were the least optimistic.” Why? Part of this stems from the higher likelihood of “bright side” individuals being more apt to focus on a healthy lifestyle; but additionally, it also comes down to how positive people handle stress: By taking on obstacles with a “silver lining”, problem-solving attitude.

Focus forward: While optimism comes naturally for some, for others, it can feel more challenging. A few techniques to keep yourself focused on positivity include visualizing and writing about your “best possible self”, as well as setting positive, reasonable goals and maintaining an accurate view of what you can and cannot control.

A sunny outlook spans wide: If you are generally optimistic in nature, you probably have a longer-term outlook, resulting in taking better care of your health and your finances.