How can optimism affect longevity?

Susan, We know through research that every thought or emotion we experience has electrical energy and a chemical response attached to it. Therefore, when you are optimistic you are sending healing hormones all over your body that boost your immune system and create health in your mind, body, and soul. The Journal of Personality and Psychology released a study that found people who had positive attitudes toward aging lived an average of seven and a half years longer than those who viewed aging in a negative manner.

Margery Silver of the New England Centenarian study at Beth Deaconess Medical Center studied the psychological profiles of two hundred healthy centenarians. She discovered the common theme that runs through these centenarians is that they remain positive thinkers. A study in the Archives of General Psychiatry showed after ten years of follow-up, people who were very optimistic had a 55 percent lower risk of death from all causes and a 23 percent lower risk of heart-related death, compared with people who reported a high level of pessimism. The MacArthur Foundation Study of Aging in America showed that lifestyle choices are more important than genetics in determining the quality of an individual’s aging.