According to Quartz, a recent study by Harvard showed that women having a positive outlook have a much lower risk of dying from serious illnesses.
The study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health published on December 7th in the American Journal of Epidemiology reveals that optimistic women present less risks of developing illnesses , especially cardiovascular diseases.
According to the study, being optimistic coincides with a lower mortality risk from cancer, heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease, and infection. The 70,000 women who were enrolled in the ongoing Nurses’ Health Study were asked to take a version of the Life Orientation Test, a test measuring optimism, in 2004 and then again in 2008.
The participants were then given a score depending on to what degree they agreed with negatively and positively worded statements. The women with higher scores were classified as having higher level of optimism. The most optimistic women were shown as nearly 30% less likely to die from the diseases tracked in the study than the least optimistic ones.
“Our new findings suggest that we should make efforts to boost optimism, which has been shown to be associated with healthier behaviours and healthier ways of coping with life challenges,” said Eric Kim, research fellow and co-lead author of the study, in a press release to Quartz.
He adds that even though the findings show that optimism triggers healthier behaviour, it does not fully explain the study’s results. However, positive thoughts could still impact the body’s biological systems directly. Making an effort to be more optimistic could be as important as other preventative measures, say scientists given the new findings.
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