Live Positively! The Benefits of Optimism on Longevity
Eating a nutritious diet and getting plenty of exercise are great for your health, but if you really want to live longer, the best thing you can do may be to change your outlook, and live positively.
A study published in the May 21 issue journal, Age Aging, found that most people over the age of 95 had certain positive personality traits, including being upbeat and relaxed. This suggests these personality traits could be one of the keys to living longer.
The researchers surveyed 243 individuals over the age of 95, with an average age of 97.6, and found they had generally a positive attitude overall. Most demonstrated traits including optimism, and outgoing, relaxed personalities. Laughter was an important part of their lives, and they had large support networks. They were expressive and didn’t hold their emotions inside.
The survey consisted of 98 questions designed to analyze personality traits. Three-quarters of those surveyed were women. All were Ashkenazi Jews, and because of the shared ethnicity, allowing researchers to compare results from participants with similar genetics.
This study is just one part of the Longevity Genes Project, a project being conducted by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, which was designed to study the aging process. The project involves more than 500 Ashkenazi Jews over 95, as well as 700 of their sons and daughters.
Other studies have had similar results. A research team in the Netherlands interviewed 1,000 individuals aged 65 to 85. The participants were asked questions about their health, self-esteem, morale, outlook, support networks, and relationships. Participants were followed for nine years, and those who were more optimistic were 55% less likely to die, and 23% less likely to die of heart disease, than those who were more pessimistic.
A third study, conducted at the University of Pittsburgh, had very similar findings. These researchers analyzed data from the Women’s Health Initiative. As part of the initiative, more than 100,000 women complete a survey designed to measure their optimism. Eight years into the study, the most optimistic women were 14% more likely than their pessimistic peers to still be alive. Pessimistic black women were a third more likely to have died within the eight year time frame than their optimistic peers.
The exact reasons why optimistic people tend to live longer isn’t entirely understood, but researchers suggest there may be two reasons in particular. First, that optimistic people tend to have larger support networks they can turn to in a crisis. Second, optimistic people handle stress better, and stress is a risk factor in heart disease, hypertension, and premature death.
It may seem that optimism is an inborn personality trait, but it is possible to increase your optimism and live positively. All it takes is a willingness to change your way of thinking, and a bit of practice. When you start deliberately thinking more positively, you’ll find that things begin to change.
Dr Lam’s Perspective on Adrenal Gland Support:
Adrenal fatigue reflects the body’s inability to deal with stress on a physiological level. Many sufferers have driven themselves to this state after decades of trying to be in control. Obsessive and compulsive traits are common. The body eventually pays the price for such drive. It’s the body’s way of telling us to slow down and “smell the roses” along the way. When fatigue deters our normal daily activities from completion, it is easy to be frustrated and hard to be optimistic. Yet sufferers of AFS must posses this optimism for proper adrenal gland support to recover quickly. The foundation of optimism is a sense of gratitude for life’s circumstances, no matter how difficult. Those who believe in higher power usually will find this easier to achieve. Those who feel that life is largely within their control usually find optimism difficult when such control fails. Negative thoughts increase cellular vibration and negative energy, while prayer and grateful meditation can alkalize our body and promote healthy homeostasis that is conducive to optimal recovery.
Stress causes a cascade of issues in the body, and optimism and relaxation are able to counter the adverse affects. Not only are the adrenal glands affected, but so is the neuroendocrine metabolic response in the body. Adrenal fatigue is one part of this process. The NEM response includes how our body responds on a cellular level, including flushing of toxins, which when toxins build up in our body, it contributes to aging. If our cells are able to function optimally, our body can properly detox, and we feel better. Keep a positive outlook and flush the toxins from your body. Learning to live positively is a powerful tool.
Source: Age Aging, 2015, March
I have found the following article published by Dr. Michael Lam on RMR, and am grateful to have read and learned so much from it.
There is no one else with the same depth of understanding and degree of specialism.