Why being positive can add years to your life 12



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Those who choose to look at the glass half full may be doing their general health a world of good…

While sentences like that may sound like a broken record, new research from the University of Illinois has been published claiming that those who have a sunny disposition are twice as likely to have a healthier cardiovascular system.

During the study of 5000 US adults, the research found that those who were positive were in better shape than their gloomier counterparts.

It makes sense – exercise is known to increase mental wellbeing and those with an increased life satisfaction had significantly better blood sugar, healthier cholesterol readings and were more physically active.

Most of us are well aware of what causes heart disease. We get told all the time that high blood pressure, smoking and high blood cholesterol are exceptionally large factors in heart disease. Blood pressure and cholesterol can be easily fixed with a healthy diet and moderate exercise, but the trick is getting people to have the motivation to change their unhealthy lifestyle.

Rosalba Hernandez, Professor of Social Work at the university, said that changing their lifestyle could be done by treating underlying mental health issues.

This would in turn boost people’s mental wellbeing and help, in part, to change unhealthy eating and smoking habits. “Individuals with the highest levels of optimism have twice the odds of being in ideal cardiovascular health compared to their more pessimistic counterparts. This association remains significant, even after adjusting for socio-demographic characteristics and poor mental health”.

It means that by addressing mental health concerns, health experts may be able to increase optimism levels within people and change their life for the better. This in turn will take a big strain off already overcrowded medical systems.

What do you think? Is your general wellbeing connected to optimism? Let us know in the comments below

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I so agree. A positive outlook is a tonic to our bodies. As the Good Book says, “A merry heart does good like a medicine.”

  2. Have always believed that it is important to have a positive outlook on life. It works for me….. 68 and not a pill in sight.

  3. Yeah, a few good points but the positivity industry has a lot to answer for in that it sets a a lot of people up for failure through unrealistic expectations. Still, it is good to have a bit of spring in your step. Don’t worry, be happy.

    2 REPLY
    • I think Russ Harris tackles this well in his book the Happiness Trap – much more realistic ideas are now more affirming of self!

    • Absolutely Jeanette. I have a theory, well I didn’t make it up, that the pursuit of happiness is a myth. If one tries to hard too hard to be happy they will never make it. Anyway, feeling blue at times is normal.

  4. with a background in education and psychology and now practising positive psych and mindfulness meditation I think the latest research in neuroscience is truly mind boggling!

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