Several studies suggest optimists live longer and enjoy better health than pessimists. The real mystery is why.
Is it optimism that makes people healthy, or do healthy people understandably have a brighter outlook?
Among the findings of various studies:
- Highly optimistic people have significantly lower death rates.
- Optimistic coronary bypass patients are half as likely as pessimists to require re-hospitalization.
- People with positive emotions have lower blood pressure.
- The most pessimistic men are more than twice as likely to develop heart disease compared with the most optimistic.
To get a better handle on things, scientists have adjusted their analyses in recent years to account for pre-existing medical conditions. Studies that made these adjustments found that existing illnesses don’t negate the benefits of optimism, according to the May 2008 issue of Harvard Men’s Health Watch.
In one example of how humans keep their s