Optimistic Mood Reduces Risk of Depression and Illness; New research shows that taking an optimistic approach to the everyday challenges of life leads to better health, peace of mind and and a longer life.
The research was performed by the Mayo Clinic and results were published in its July Health Newsletter. In one study, 800 people were observed for over 30 years, after completing a personality test which indicated their attitude to life.
The pessimists were found to have almost 20 percent more likelihood of dying early than the optimists.
A follow-up study, begun in 1965, saw 7,000 participants complete the personality study and allow researchers to follow their lives.
Forty years later, the researchers found that out of every 100 participants, the 25 most pessimistic, anxious and depressed had a thirty percent greater chance of dying young, compared with the most optimistic, least anxious and least depressed 25 in the group.
Being Positive Helps Keep You Healthy
The optimists in the Mayo surveys said they had fewer health problems and fewer difficulties with work or daily routines. They experienced less pain, had more energy, were comfortable in social situations and enjoyed social activities.
The optimistic study participants also said they were generally happier, calmer and more peaceful than their pessimistic counterparts.
Optimistic Women Live Longer than Pessimistic Ones – Reduces Risk of Depression and Illness
A different piece of research, from the Women’s Health Initiative, a study of 100,000 women aged over 50, backed up the Mayo’s conclusions, finding that women with an optimistic outlook lived healthier, longer lives than pessimistic women.
At the follow up survey, eight years after the start of the study, the researchers found optimists were 30 percent less likely to die of heart disease and 14 percent less likely to die of any cause when compared with the pessimists.
Positive Thinking is the Key to Experiencing Happiness – Optimistic Mood
These results back up research quoted by Australian philosopher and professor of law, Dr Mirko Bagaric, who says it is counterproductive to worry too much about life’s difficulties, or to view life pessimistically.
Instead, he advises cultivating a positive approach to life. “Don’t stress about things going wrong. You’ll probably be able to cope with most things that confront you,” he says.
Dealing With Negative Thinking – Optimistic Mood
It’s easy to be cheerful if you’re a naturally optimistic person. Or if life hasn’t dealt you any nasty blows.
It’s much harder if you have a pessimistic outlook or are naturally cautious, perhaps because of unpleasant experiences in your past. The challenge is to look on the bright side even when you suspect it might not be bright!
According to the Mayo experts, a person’s general attitude in life is likely to be a combination of nature and nurture – genetics combined with life experiences. Even if you seem to have been born with a pessimistic nature, they say it is possible to change habitual thinking patterns from negative to positive with determination and help.
Change Your Thinking to Accentuate the Positive
Changing from negative to positive won’t happen overnight, but there are tried and tested ways of doing it over a period of time.
Affirmations, deliberately trying to see the good in each day, taking comfort from small pleasures, enjoying nature, performing random acts of kindness, practising gratitude – are all ways to change negative thought patterns.
For some people, these approaches, practised daily, may be enough to reverse their thought polarity from negative to positive – from pessimism to optimism. Others might need to seek help from counselors, psychotherapists and other mental health professionals.