How to live longer: New study suggests feeling more optimistic could make you live longer

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After decades of research, a new study has linked feeling a certain to having a more prolonged life. Researchers have found that individuals who felt this way were more likely to live longer and to achieve ‘exceptional longevity’. New evidence published in Science News found that people who looked at life a certain way could live longer compared to their counterparts.

The study was based on 69,744 women and 1,429 men with both groups completing surveys measuring their level of optimism as well as their overall health and habits such as diet, smoking and alcohol abuse.

The women were followed for 10 years and the men for 30 years. The researchers found that the most optimistic men and women demonstrated a higher percentage longer lifespan and had 50 – 70 percent greater odds of reaching 85 years old compared to the least optimistic groups.

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These results held true, the study found, even when socioeconomic status, health conditions, depression, smoking, social engagement, poor diet and alcohol use were considered.

Lead author of the study, Lewina Lee, assistant professor of psychiatry at Boston University’s School of Medicine said of the findings: “This was the first study to look at the impact of optimism on exceptional longevity, which is defined as living to age 85 or more.

Being optimistic doesn’t mean ignoring life’s stresses but rather when negative things do happen, optimistic people are less likely to blame themselves and are able to see it as a temporary obstacle.

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